Prepared for the worst

The image above was taken in 2012 at a neighboring property.  Knockalong has experienced a number of bush fires, most notably the fire of 1985 where the property was totally burnt out and the main homestead lost.

The fire of 1985 was driven by gale force winds on a hot summers day as most of the local population were attending the local show. With the sight of smoke, the celebrations were abandoned as we prepared for the worst.

Much was burnt, pastures, trees, fences and buildings as well as stock attempting to flee the flames. The landscape was flattened as old monumental hollow trees were cooked in the inferno falling to the ground.

These experiences prompted us to be better prepared for threat of fires in coming seasons. There were lessons learnt as well. One interesting observation was how the tree belts slowed the winds and changed the pattern of the approaching front. We believe that we did not lose as much stock as our neighbours  because the stock were able to move around the broken front onto the already burnt ground.

We saw that where the tall giants of trees were fallen, there was no young growth to replace them. The stock had always found the Rubida gums very palatable and they rarely grew to maturity. This was a “wake-up” call that prompted us to protect the regrowth around these remaining trees.

For Knockalong we have developed a “EMERGENCY FIRE PLAN” and an “EMERGENCY FIRE PLAN CHECK-LIST” used at the beginning of every fire season to ensure that nothing has been overlooked. We also have a “Fire Assistance Map” specifically for this property to enable fire crews to find access to water, gates and navigate road systems as well as avoid obstacles such as irrigation drains. All gates & ramps have been signposted to match the map details.

We have compiled information on the layout of the “Fire Truck” and “Fire trailer” used on the property. It is hoped that these documents may help others to be better prepared. Fire truck artist Aron Janstad Wright