Bushfires: Would You Stay And Defend Or Leave Early?

Bushfires: Would You Stay And Defend Or Leave Early?

Jenny Butler
Feb 10, 2009

Over the weekend Australia has experienced its worst bushfires in our countries history. The death toll currently stands at 173 with that number expected to rise as so many people are still missing. Over 920 houses have been lost and 300,000 hectares [1,160 square miles] of land has so far been destroyed. What makes this even more distressing is that some of the fires were deliberately lit. However, the question that seems to be causing the most discussion is, would you stay and defend your home or leave early?

The Country Fire Authority offers the following advice:

  • If you choose to leave early this means leaving your home before there is a fire in your area or on any day where there is a severe fire risk. Once fire is in your area it is unsafe to leave.
  • Roads are one of the most dangerous places to be during a fire. Often visibility is poor due to the smoke, falling trees, other cars and emergency vehicles. Cars also do not provide any protection from radiant heat like buildings do.
  • If you stay and defend you must be mentally, emotionally and physically prepared to sustain the long and dangerous battle in defending your home. You should also have a reliable water supply, fire fighting equipment and adequately cleared space around the house. When a fire is passing you should always stay inside and once it has passed move quickly to burnt ground.

If we were in the position, we would choose to leave early. Our home is surrounded by 100 year old gum trees and we have no fire fighting equipment or skills. If we had time, we would pack only important documentation and sentimental items in our car and head for safety. Everything else is insured and no possession is worth risking your life over.

We know LA also suffers from terrible fires so if it was you, what would your choice be? Do you have any other advice on surviving a bushfire?

Our heart goes out to those who have suffered and lost family and friends because of these fires. To make a donation to the Bushfire Relief Fund visit the Australian Red Cross, so far $30million dollars has been donated and counting.

[image from ninemsn]

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