TERRI’S BUSH­FIRE HOR­ROR

New Idea - - Star Shots -

Terri Ir­win was left dev­as­tated af­ter she was forced to evac­u­ate Aus­tralia Zoo while a mas­sive bush­fire threat­ened to de­stroy the pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tion.

The con­ser­va­tion­ist and her ded­i­cated staff cleared out three en­clo­sures clos­est to the rag­ing fire as a pre­cau­tion when the sit­u­a­tion es­ca­lated to crit­i­cal lev­els, de­stroy­ing 180 hectares in Beer­wah on the Sun­shine Coast.

Ten fire crews re­mained sta­tioned at Aus­tralia Zoo on Sun­day, Novem­ber 5, on hand to fight the fire as it blazed to­wards the com­pound and sur­rounded Steve Ir­win Way – leav­ing a very anx­ious Terri wait­ing ner­vously for up­dates on the in­ferno.

‘It was a hor­ri­ble day for Terri – to say that she was dev­as­tated at the thought of los­ing ev­ery­thing that she and Steve, not to men­tion Bindi and Robert, had worked so hard to cre­ate is an un­der­state­ment,’ a zoo source tells New Idea.

‘Aus­tralia Zoo is not only im­por­tant to Terri and her chil­dren be­cause of their con­ser­va­tion ef­forts – but also be­cause it was a very big part of Steve’s life. For them, he has lived on through the zoo. Hav­ing the zoo go up in flames would have been heart­break­ing for all of them.

‘As a re­sult, Terri was des­per­ately wait­ing for up­dates from the emer­gency crews on how the fire was pro­gress­ing – she was on ten­ter­hooks the whole time. Such a har­row­ing time.’

While the amaz­ing ef­forts of fire­fight­ers even­tu­ally paid off and Aus­tralia Zoo was saved, it’s the long-term dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect of the fire that is sure to haunt Terri.

‘The fire threat­ened 30 homes and burnt through nearly 200 hectares of land, which means that much of the lo­cal flora and wildlife sur­round­ing Aus­tralia Zoo has been de­stroyed or crit­i­cally dam­aged as a re­sult,’ the source says. ‘It breaks Terri’s heart – but she knows the wildlife hos­pi­tal at Aus­tralia Zoo will do ev­ery­thing they can to help the in­jured

an­i­mals.’

For Terri and Bindi, the zoo is more than a job – it’s a re­minder of Steve and the work he started. A rag­ing in­ferno men­aced Aus­tralia Zoo af­ter de­stroy­ing more than 180 hectares of sur­round­ing bush­land.

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