Bushfires are a big concern in a hot, dry country like Australia. In February 2009, 173 people died in the “Black Saturday” bushfires that tore through parts of Victoria. In January this year, a Victorian firefighter died battling a blaze in Tasmania. Here’s a gripping photo of a grandmother and grandfather huddling under a jetty with their grandchildren in Tasmania. They abandoned the house and managed to save the five kids and the family dog, which was sitting above them on the jetty.
In the last two months in Perth, I’ve covered bushfires in Kin Kin in the state’s south-west, Bullsbrook in the eastern suburbs and Trigg on the coast. All three forced homes to be evacuated. The Kin Kin fire tore through nearly 1500 hectares of dense forest, claiming the life of a bush recluse. In Bullsbrook, firefighters battled day and night to save 15 homes built on a hillside. And late one afternoon in Trigg, gusty afternoon winds sent flames from a bush reserve perilously close to homes. The response from firefighters was a sight to behold. Crews from eight stations were at the scene in minutes, supported by four helitacs, an aircrane and an air intelligence helicopter.
Bushfires are an intrinsic part of Australia - if you don’t believe me, I captured this photo evidence in Trigg. It’s a shot of a helitac shrouded in thick smoke, but when you max out the colour and contrast, a sunburnt country emerges.