Heeding the warnings

The events of the past week will mean different things to different people.

Some will recall not sleeping at all last Tuesday night as the fire swept from Jugiong, past Bookham and on towards Yass.

Others would have woken up on Wednesday and wondered what all the fuss was about.

Those fighting the fire have been living a different life to the rest of us this past week and will carry memories that will take a long time to fully digest.

Farming families who had the fire rip through their properties will also be living with terrifying memories, but with no time to dwell. They have had to work quickly to deal with dead and injured stock, downed fences, and lack of stock feed.

While many in the community have searched for ways they can help.

A recurring theme I have heard over again is that people didn’t realise the fire danger was so real and present.

Yet, warning phone calls and text messages went out to everyone with a registered telephone in our region on Monday night.

The Bureau of Meteorology advised us through the media on the Monday that we were going to experience catastrophic weather conditions – meaning any fire could be life-threatening.

And the state government declared a state of emergency, also on the Monday evening – before any fire had come near us. A pre-emptive strike that turned out to be a masterstroke in ensuring the RFS had all the resources and support it needed to respond to fires as they happened on Tuesday.

Those on the land understood the risk and took precautions which helped save lives and property.

But many in town perhaps thought they were immune.

So, to those who say they didn’t have enough warning, I would implore them to take seriously the very good advice we received. Don’t wait for a fire to be at your doorstep before you think about what you should do.

Most of us were very fortunate this time, but if the worst had happened we couldn’t say we hadn’t been warned.

Next time, let’s be prepared.

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