Last resort in a bushfire
By Judy Evans
August 4, 2018 7:39pm CST
Like other parts of the world, Australia has some devastating bushfires from time to time. Fires are still fought by fire-fighting crews and local citizens but over the last few decades more and more fires seem to be invincible and often the only safe option is evacuation of an area. While we were interstate we saw this sign in many of the towns we passed through. Just the words ‘last resort’ are a bit chilling. The refuge is usually an oval or cleared paddock. Western Australia had a bushfire in 1961 which wiped out five or six small timber towns. Of these only Dwellingup was rebuilt. At one point during that fire, any people remaining in the town gathered at the football oval with one fire truck ready to defend them. No lives were lost but hundreds of homes were burnt to the ground. What a terrible day it would have been as there were no mobile phones and no communication with those outside the fire zone. No-one outside of the town knew if those remaining had survived or had lost their lives. Let’s hope there is little call for these ‘last resorts’.
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Big bush and forest fires are indeed rampant in Australia and some parts of the U.S. because of your vast forests. I wish forests were divided into something like plots with about a kilometer distance from each plot so that, in case of fire, it will be isolated and firetrucks can fight the fire using the 1 kilometer clearing from each plot as their passageway to the fire scene.
@JudyEv You're right. Even if there's a wide fire-breaks, it would indeed be difficult to control the flight of embers in strong winds. In my home city before, when sugarcane fields are on fire, they bulldoze and sacrifice some of the standing canes so as to cut the fire's path.
• Bunbury, Australia
Not really. In Australia if the temperature is really high with strong winds and the likelihood of lightning strikes they might announce a catastrophic fire rating and advise people to leave their homes if they are in a danger area and have only one exit from their property.
• Paso Robles, California
What devastation. A lot of my state is on fire, but mostly in wilderness areas. However some cities have also lost homes and businesses. I hate fire season, and this one is especially bad. We are heading for ten more days of triple digit heat if the weatherman in right. We need rain, but it normally doesn't come for at least another couple of months.
• Bunbury, Australia
I'm sure there are similarities between both Australia and California. Here, people love to build in the middle of forests with trees all around so they are at risk from the moment they move in. Some others have only one way out so if there is a fire and the road is blocked they are trapped. Some of the families in that situation leave their homes on what are classified as catastrophic fire days and spend the day elsewhere but that's not the ideal situation either.