Public Comment

Letter from Australia

Dennis Fitzgerald
Friday January 03, 2020 - 04:51:00 PM

Sometimes it's the small events that brings home an issue to you, as the saying you can't see the trees for the forest can be so true. At the usual Friday coffee catch up one of our group mentioned in passing that they had lost their holiday house in the fires that are attacking so much of Australia at the moment. 

When you are safe and the fires are nowhere near you, the losses of life and property shown on TV and discussed on the radio seem distant and unconnected to your comfortable life. There is of course a feeling of regret and sadness over the tragedies, but the realities are not so clear. 

Like most young people who grew up in a farming community I contributed to fire risk reduction exercises clearing breaks and reducing the fuel loads around houses by burning them off before they accumulated too much material. It was hot, uncomfortable and actually boring but it had to be done each year and it was just a part of the farm routine. It was also effective. 

Their beachside holiday house was empty as they wouldn't allow any of the family to go there while there was danger. The house and all of its contents including the new table and fridge were gone although insurance will help cover loses. It has been a part of their annual holidays from before their children and grandchildren were born although it's not likely to be replaced as the fires are likely to become more common due to climate changes. It might now become a camping ground for the younger family members. All that really has been lost are some memories. 

The country needs to look at why these fires are becoming bigger and more frequent and find a solution before more lives and property are lost although at present the Politicians are mostly offering words and handshakes, many of which are refused. 

One house out of hundreds lost and fortunately no lives is a small item in a massive issue, but we all need to address it.