16 January 2009

Loathsome firebugs

Oh my! I am in a state of shock at the moment. If you follow my calendar you will know that I was scheduled to speak with James Lush on ABC Radio Perth at noon today.

Unfortunately we've had to postpone the chat until early next week because some senseless fool has set fire to Kings Park. The temperature in Perth is expected to reach 40 today and Rosemary tells me the winds are blowing a gale so the fire has just taken off.

To anyone who knows Perth, you'll understand just how devastating this is. Kings Park is just glorious and I have spent many hours wandering through on my visits to WA. I am so saddened at such a stupid and senseless act.

Our gorgeous Australian landscape is so volatile, especially at this time of year. Just this week Adelaide and Port Lincoln have suffered through bush fires, even Sydney, a huge city, hasn't been immune with fire racing through the bush at Killara, a suburb just 11 kilometres from the CBD.

We have bush behind us and I love it. I look out the kitchen and family room windows straight onto majestic gums and spectacular wattle trees and I can tell you that my greatest fear is that some fool will set fire to it.

So, to ease my mind, we have a fire plan for the family and house, even though we are in the suburbs. With the bush so close to our home we have always felt that a simple and easy to remember fire plan is essential. Each summer I pray we don't have to use it. My in-laws live close to Galston Gorge in Sydney and they have a fire plan too. They have even had to use it a couple of times in recent years due to loathsome firebugs.

Even in suburbia you are not immune to the threat of bush and scrub fires so please take some time to work out a fire plan for your family. Fire plans should have been done months ago but it's not too late. If you don't have one you should do one now. You don't need to live in the bush or the mountains to be caught in a fire either - there are hundreds of housefires every year from something as simple as a pot catching fire in the kitchen.

You can get a sample plan from the NSW Rural Fire Service. This website has a number of different fact sheets you can download to help you get started.

And if you at least have a plan in place it will make the firebug's life that little bit more difficult.

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