The future for bushfire volunteers

On my late evening dog walks in the rural village of Yangan near Warwick, it has become customary to wave to the volunteer firefighters as they arrive back at base. If they can lift their arms, they wave back. These volunteers, known in Australia as ‘firies’, are holding containment lines around multiple fires burning in the ranges around Cunningham’s Gap. The Cunningham Highway between Warwick and Brisbane has been closed for two weeks due to…

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Bushfire smoke, dust storms and asthma

Images of Brisbane shrouded in an asthma-inducing smoky haze on Monday reminded me of Queensland Ballet’s season launch in 2009. We had driven down for the matinee on a day when a massive dust storm was predicted. By the time we came out, the dust haze was so thick you could barely see the ABC headquarters across the road from the Lyric Theatre. No doubt those of you who remember that were reliving it on…

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Where there’s (bush) fire there’s smoke

Oops- the tail light is out- better get that fixed! Fast forward to King St. Mechanical in Warwick. John came out and promptly fixed it- ‘No worries, mate. No charge’! It would have been the perfect introductory day in a new town, had it not been for the pall of bushfire smoke hanging over Warwick and communities to the east. At Yangan, 18 kms East, smoke from two fires burning in inaccessible country around Swanfels…

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Climate debate burning fiercely

As we prepared to move from the Sunshine Coast hinterland after 17 years, the air was full of bushfire smoke, dust and haze from an early, hot start to spring. It blew a gale up there for the best part of a week; strong south-westerlies, the last thing you need in an early bushfire season. Multiple properties were lost around Stanthorpe and in the Gold Coast hinterland between Sarabah and Canungra as hot gusty winds…

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