“First fire I went to was in 1990 at Vivonne Bay. A fire started from a harvester and nearly went through the township. That was pretty serious. I was about 15.
I used to be in the CFS and now I do my own personalised firefighting unit. 2020 was horrific, nothing compares to it, to be honest. Like a Hiroshima bomb going off. Nothing you could do. We spend a month beforehand before that big day, thinking we had control of this fire and we had nothing. No one had anything left, nothing.
Looking ahead to the next season, I am a bit shaky. There is still not enough prevention done around the place, you look around most towns and there is still grass up to the window sills. The biggest learning from last summer was safety and more clean-up around your house, more prevention, just reduce all your fuel loads.
I don’t feel ready for the fire season, no, but I am getting there. I got two new firefighting pumps, got an extra tank to put on the back of the vehicle. I installed firefighting units around the house and hooked up to tanks that are full of water. Safety equipment is very important. Because you think you’re dressed appropriately in your tracksuit pants or jeans and a pair of sunglasses, but you’re not. They perish. You just can’t trust a fire otherwise you’re gonna die.”