Our long bril­liant dread­ful sum­mers

Geelong Advertiser - - YOUR SAY -

THERE is per­haps noth­ing as quintessen­tially Aus­tralian as an Aus­tralian sum­mer.

Our hot weather, like other coun­tries’ win­ters, con­trib­utes to our na­tional char­ac­ter.

In the Gee­long re­gion where we’re lucky enough to be on a bay, a penin­sula and one of the world’s great­est surf coasts, we flock as one to the wa­ter to cool down.

Around the na­tion this week, fire­fight­ers and land owners have banded to­gether in an ef­fort to quell the ever present threat of small fires be­com­ing big vo­ra­cious ones that con­sume houses and lives.

Yesterday fire­fight­ers were try­ing to con­tain a bush­fire in Buniny­ong near Bal­larat.

Closer to home, in Lit­tle River air tankers were dump­ing wa­ter on a fast-mov­ing fire which had scorched more than 1000 hectares of land and threat­ened homes.

Res­i­dents of Co­coroc, Mam­bourin and Manor were “strongly rec­om­mended” by Vic Emer­gency to evac­u­ate.

Roads were closed and V/Lines stopped in their tracks.

Things can change, and there were trou­ble­some windy con­di­tions ex­pected late last night.

But as of yesterday evening it looked like those master­ful fire­fight­ing pi­lots dump­ing wa­ter and fire re­tar­dant on the in­ferno had man­aged to get the Lit­tle River fire un­der control with min­i­mal dam­age to struc­tures and po­ten­tially only one shed lost.

The brave fire­fight­ers, and emer­gency ser­vices work­ers, on the ground and in the air, de­serve our on­go­ing grat­i­tude for their of­ten gru­elling ef­forts, pro­tect­ing peo­ple, homes and live­stock.

The Aus­tralian bush has a rugged ap­peal that’s laced with the re­cur­ring dan­ger of floods and fire.

It’s what poet Dorothea Mackel­lar de­scribed as “Her beauty and her ter­ror, The wide brown land for me.”

Bush­fires, blowflies and beaches, black­outs and cold beer.

This is the bit­ter­sweet na­ture of our bril­liant and dread­ful sum­mers.

Pic­ture: ALI­SON WYND

Lit­tle River fire yesterday.

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