Saved by the rain

Hours after arriving on the fireground at 5am on Monday, Tea Tree Gully CFS volunteers and father and daughter Shakira and Aaron Venning snatched a few moments of rest.

The Adelaide Hills dodged a bullet this week – clear and simple.
The fire in the Scott Creek Conservation Park which started on Sunday afternoon in blistering heat had the potential to devastate significant parts of the region.
But this time – for a change – the weather worked in our favor.
The largely inaccessible fire could have developed into a blaze of Cudlee Creek or even Ash Wednesday proportions had the heatwave conditions continued and the wind picked up.
The fire could have burst from the tricky bushland terrain of the park and the adjacent Mt Bold reservoir reserve on a host of fronts making it impossible for firefighters to control.
The potential for many lives and properties to have been lost is obvious and for there to have been no fatalities and only two homes destroyed is something of a miracle.
Monday’s still and relatively humid conditions coupled with a drenching in the afternoon turned the potential disaster into a salient lesson … if the Hills community ever needed it after our recent Cudlee Creek tragedy.
The CFS acknowledges we were extremely lucky this time.
The hard work of hundreds of volunteers supported by water bombers and other ground crews cannot be underestimated as many homes were saved … but it was sheer luck which really saved the day.
If any good can come from this event then it is to remind us that everyone must prepare for fire.
There will always be hot, windy days, there will always be highly flammable bush and farmland in summer and there will always be ignition – whether innocent or sinister.
It has no relevance to the terrified family watching the fire front approach if the blaze was started by an arsonist or lightning.
Fire is a reality for those of us who choose to live in what is surely one of the most beautiful parts of Australia, if not the world.
We must all take responsibility and prepare each year – updating our plans as our families and circumstances change.
Next time we might not be so lucky.