Burn: the epic story of bushfire in Australia

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A study was conducted into the 32 fatalities excluding firefighters that occurred in Victoria. It revealed that 25 were outside their homes, several of whom died in vehicles while attempting to escape the conflagration. It was found that delaying evacuation until the last minute was a common failing.

Along with Cyclone Tracy , Ash Wednesday is arguably the natural disaster to have had the greatest impact on the Australian national psyche. For the next quarter century, it was used as the measure for all bushfire emergencies in Australia, most notably the Canberra bushfires , which experienced very similar severe fire weather.

The disaster caused 75 deaths, [2] which is the second highest death toll for a bushfire in Australia. The Black Saturday bushfire disaster has since surpassed Ash Wednesday on the list of disasters in Australia by death toll , with confirmed fatalities, although the fires still remain the worst in Australian history in terms of property loss. Three decades have passed since the disaster, yet victims and their families still suffer the effects of that day. Many psychological studies were undertaken in the months and years after the fire and found that the events left many in the affected communities with the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD.

The lasting impact of Ash Wednesday was highlighted in , when its 25th anniversary received much public and media attention. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the bushfires in Victoria and South Australia. For the bushfires in South Australia, see Ash Wednesday bushfires. Aftermath of the Ash Wednesday bushfires at Mount Macedon. Main article: Melbourne dust storm.


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Archived from the original on 11 February Retrieved 16 May Melbourne, Australia: Hargreen Publishing Company. The Complete Bushfire Safety Book. Sydney, Australia: Random House Australia. I Melbourne, Australia: State Government of Victoria. Briefing Paper No. Archived from the original PDF on 28 May Retrieved 17 May Report " PDF. Emergency Management Australia. Archived from the original PDF on 16 October Retrieved 22 February Insurance Council of Australia. Archived from the original on 10 May CFS Public Affairs. Retrieved 19 May Gisborne CFA. Archived from the original on 8 October Retrieved 24 February Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

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Archived from the original on 4 March ABC Adelaide. Australia: ABC. Bushfires in Australia. Canberra Black Tuesday Tasmania Tasmania Western Australia Western Australia Esperance I wonder whether something was already going on 8 hrs before the explosion. I got a message at 3. I'm at Lyneham. I don't understand why the closer suburbs didn't get the warning. I'm inside for the day until they tell us to come out.

It looks like an enormous fire. Apparently it still isn't under control, very scary chemical fires. I live in Palmerston and received the automated telephone message telling me to stay indoors about 3. I received a text about 10minutes later. I had heard the sirens about midnight and thought that something big had occured. Even though Palmerston was not mentioned in the message, I believe that even receiving the message was an indication that you had to be cautious.

Looking south from the front of my house right now I can see the black smoke still billowing from the fire, and then looking north the sky is distinctly hazy. The txt was there for me when I woke up this morning I live in Bonner but I used to live in Lyneham but it had so many spelling errors in it eg. Wasn't until I went out to get in my car and go to work that I realised it was for real! I live in Downer. Heard the series of loud explosions last night and thought it was some super cell thunderstorm withouth lightening or rain! I received a phone call around 2am I think with number and thought it was some telemarketer so I hung up on it.

Fortunately friends called me at am to tell me of the news. The smoke was blowing away from us towards Sydney our apologies so we were not affected as such. The video footage from last night really shows why the 'booms' were so loud. Live km away, southwest of the site. Heard no explosions, see nothing much like smoke.

Explosions 'rock the nation's capital' something of an exaggeration. Clearly could have been nasty, and must be alarming for those nearby, but I get the impression that a great deal of the capital is unaffected. Good on ACT gov for having the text and phone call service in place. If this had been a major disaster and no one was given any information, there would be outcry from residents.

To all the people complaining about the accurancy of the texts or information, its a warning system, not a news service I'm meant to be going to university today but my dad is adamant that I stay indoors. I need to finish an assignment and I can't do it from home. So annoying! I'm in Lyneham at the moment, have been hearing lots of noise, helicopters overhead and stuff. Both my flatmates were woken up by the explosions last night. None of us got a text message though.

Still, good that things are working. I can still see the plume of smoke but it's changed colour from a heavy black to grey.

Burn: The Epic Story Of Bushfire In Australia by Paul Collins -

Yes I can see the dark clouds fro the next suburb I live in. It is only a fire so please get on with your life and leave it to the able fire authorities to handle it! So you didn't have to worry about taking a day off because your kids can't go to school then I take it. I live in Aranda and didn't get a text?? I'm unable to go to work as both the school and creche are closed and I'm home with the children. It seems the 'threat' due to toxic chemicals was cancelled prior to 9am so why did the schools have to remain closed? Whilst I'm happy to have the time off with the kids, I can't help but feel like a bit of a fraud.

I think people should stop complaining about the texts etc they received and the spelling mistakes contained There have been no casualties thus far and for that, I say well done. Keep up the good work! Totally agree. Although I also understand second guessing the validity of a msg that had such gross errors Many Canberra residents thought it was a hoax because of such poor spelling, it looked like it was from a bunch of 12yos having a giggle.

Otherwise it's good to have the service, even though I didn't get a text and my mate across the road did. We didn't get any notification via land line or text msg and we are in Forde Suprised that Hacket did and we didn't How does the system work? Do you need to register? There was no over-reaction. If you live nearby, you would have heard it.

It was loud in Ngunnawal at 2. I am appalled at the lack of practical accessible information available to community here, re safety, roadclosures, school closures etc. I would have thought after fires, the ACT government would have prioritised this, ensured regular updates, were available when emergencies happen. I believe this is the ministers responsibilty. That's a vast overreaction. The notifications and information were appropriate for scale of the incident.

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Don't you know that in any emergency you listen to local ABC radio? I live and work within 10km of this fire. I got no text message and have no reason to turn on a radio or tv at 4. This morning, I left home at 5. I had no idea this incident had occurred until after 10am when people at work were talking about it during the management meeting. You must be in a different Canberra. Local radio stations, ABC and commercial, have been giving out this information since before dawn. I Live Forde, heard the explosions just after 2am and received a TXt and a phone call at around am. They then tweeted the road closure information a few hours later.

These guys provide the best up to date information about what's happening on Canberra's roads. I live in Kaleen and also received the text message at with the two spelling mistakes. Unfortunately I did not read it until I was already on the road and heard about the incident on the news. I am very happy to see that there is a system in place trying to inform people as quickly as possible.

Even though it might be an over-reaction after all, I still prefer it that way: It is better to be on the save side than getting information about a toxic plume a view weeks later. Let's hope that the emergency services get the situation quickly under control and without anyone injured or killed! I live in Turner, much closer to Civic and the Lake - I was woken up by couple of distant, but distinct rumbles.

I would have thought that the VERY first announcements released would be about what gases, and possible gases, are being released. There should be lab test results done, and updated regularly, and out by now and plastered across all the media. Apart from reducing speculation fear, people get fair and best warning to know what to do. I am in the west and have been watching the news with interest.

I just heard that the smoke contains a chemical called "phosgene" also called MUSTARD GAS- i feel the public should at least be aware of the real issues with this gas, how many older people remember thier grandfather being incapacitated due to exposure in the trenches. Phosgene - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia en.

Undo Phosgene is the chemical compound with the formula COCl2. This colorless gas gained infamy as a chemical weapon during World War I. It is also a valued It's also helpful to check your facts before accusing someone of lying and looking a bit silly to the rest of the ABC audience. The by-product of the substance being burned, PCB, is a smoke plume that potentially could contain Phosgene. Phosgene is known to cause irritation to skin and eyes, sore throat, nausea, headaches and dizziness, vomiting, chest pain and difficulty breathing. Phosgene is not also called mustard gas.

That is the sort of false information we can do without. I have read a media story news. Actually phosgene gas is a type of chlorine gas used in WWI clear, odourless and quite potent. Mustard Gas is a different gas altogether and is a lot more potent and is not odourless. It's not a trivial matter.

It was because of those spelling errors a lot of people thought it was a hoax. I'm glad no-one was hurt in this, but I suspect that there will be a lot of people who have some breathing difficulties already who will be affected by this. Good on the ACT government for putting this alert system in place - it obviously worked very well. Those who didn't receive the messages obviously need to find out why. To those who moan about Mitchell being so close to suburbia - just think - Mitchell was built in the late 's when Gungahlin wasn't even thought of, and Mitchell has been steadily filling up with commercial businesses since then.

Then Gungahlin became a satellite city in the mid to late s and started quickly expanding outwards towards Mitchell, and now it is completely surrounded by homes. On the news websites, I think they ought to include a phone number for people who need to find out more, for example to check school closures, get health information.

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Someone on the text message task force can't spell "Residents"! We live in Ngunnawal, we can see the smoke from here, but it's looking much better now. It's not nice to laugh at people who aren't able to spell correctly. There can be many reasons for this. If they have reasons for being unable to spell correctly, they REALLY should not be working for any emergency notification service.

You don't mess around with the subpar when it comes to emergencies. Yes, this typo may have been harmless aside from some people taking it as a sign that the message was a hoax , but it may not be so next time Live in Nicholls. No phone call. No text message. No nothing until I tried to take my daughters to school and was told the schools were closed.

Why were we not informed of anything until we turned on ABC News? Do you have to register in some way with ACT to get the emergency phone calls and text messages? Could someone please tell us how to do that? Thank you! My mother, despite living almost 1km from mitchell was not called or sent any text information. Luckily, my phone is registered at her house billing address so I was able to let her know what was happening.

Pretty pathetic result from the warning system. Thousands got it. A handful didn't. That fits my range for the definition of success. Find out why it didn't work for your Mother and make sure it's all functioning for when someone serious happens. Can't help but think we have over reacted here. Looks like we have sent the task force to a few drums of oil on fire.

Better to be safe than sorry I guess. Must be a huge cost on the local economy to close the schools for the day. Why close schools dozens of kilometres away? I also think that local ABC radio might need to work at keeping these things in 'perspective'. They couldnt be accused this morning of playing this down. Whilst driving to work they mentioned a few times that the announcer had been on for 4 and a half hours! Wow, thats really tough. Walkley in the mail. Actualy J it was far meore than a couple of drums of oil on fire. How much whinging would go on if anyone was affected physically by the smoke?

Not an over reaction in the circumstances. The flames were metres high. That is not just a few drums of oil! And it is NOT an overreaction. I live in downer received the txt but slept through the noise however my grandson sleeping at the front of the house heard the noise. Now we have grandsons mate who was delivered to Dickson college before his parents new of the event, here with us also. All seems normal smoke heading north, mind you our car service scheduled for this morning in Mitchell has gone by the way.

The text msg very welcome even though it did not sink in at first. I'm close to the city centre and my boyfriend mistook the explosions for someone trying to break in. Plenty of sirens throughout the night. At home today because the schools are closed. My son is thrilled. I live in Gungahlin and received no text message or phone call. I had no idea what was going on until I turned on my car radio. However the first words I heard were "We'll tell you when it's safe to go outdoors".

My husband who is with optus mobile got a message. My mobile and our home phone is with Transact and there was no phone call or text on either Transact phone. We live in Franklin, in the area very close to Mitchell. Received the emergency phone call about 3. Luckily I have an annoying machine that beeps every minute so had to listen to the message. Also received sms warnings. Great services, but would have been great if there was a blatant link on canberra connect to the emergency services site - searching the web for info at 3. Also agree on need to follow up - a message at 8am or whenever it was declared safe to go outside would have been helpful and surely not too hard to organise seeing as they sent a message at 3.

I know I'm being picky, but would be helpful for next time Some people are never satisfied - its a case of you're damned if you do and damned if you don't! I agree that a chemical explosion has the potential to become a major disaster and the authorities acted in a responsible manner. Resadents of Franklin, Crace, Harrison, Watson, Downer, Kaleen, Lyneham, Hackett stay indoors" from at am on my phone but my son's phone which is with the same provider and registered in my name but a separate account both pre paid Virgin got nothing.

I agree a follow up message or where to go for more info would be helpful. Nothing on the Landline until a friend woke me up and alerted me. I heard the explosions around 2am and could see the smoke plume clearly then and this morning but not as obvious now from Antill St Watson.

We are being lied to on a monumental scale.

A chemical fire is potentially more dangerous so I don't think it was an overreaction, although I believe the evacuation centre was at Dickson College which is on the border of the initial exclusion zone! In victoria and soon in NSW you can't build a wind turbine within 2 km of a house. But a chemical warehouse in the suburbs..

You've got it the wrong way around. The factory has been there since the s, long before any of the suburbs were even thought of. It could seem picky to be critical about the spelling mistakes. However, particularly because it was the first thing in the morning, the spelling errors did add to confusion. It was fully ten minutes before I worked out what an 'insadent' was.

It is possible to envisage similar situations where such confusion could put people at real risk. Sometimes correct spelling is very important! Whoever made the spelling mistakes should be hammered. It's the sort of spelling that usually accompanies hoaxes - and it's pretty obvious from peoples comments here that it did cause people to worry about a hoax. It's not at all a trivial issue. Hi Rachel, I didn't get the txts or call, live in Franklin and not on prepaid. Been with my provider since the day i moved in to the house. I'm disappointed in the fact my daughter and I are with Telstra, we both DID NOT receive any text messages informing us about the explosion this morning.

I work in Dacre St Mitchell. As I woke to my alarm to get ready for work, my son came in to inform me that he received a text message. He is with Optus. Nothing to do with Optus or Telstra. The Emergency Alert is run by the state and territory governments. I live km away from Canberra and got the SMS message I guessed that Telstra might be the reason, so I gave them a call.

Even though I'd disconnected my Canberra phone 3 years ago and relocated twice, they had only ever changed my billing address, not my residential or contact details, which were still Canberra. So for any others who didn't get the text, perhaps check the contact records of your mobile provider I live in Kaleen, about 3 km from the fire. I slept through all of it. First I knew about it was from the ABC website at about 7 am.

No text or other warning message. In downer, no text message. Thanks to the firies for reducing our exposure to mustard gas - you should all get paid more. I live in Acton, considered far away from the explosion site since I'm near to the lake. However, I was up late last night and could hear a group of continuous boom. At first I thought someone from the other halls nearby was playing a very loud music with a strong bass as it was Thursday night out and the students are usually partying!

It was particularly strange for someone to play that kind of music at around am in the morning! So I thought something might have happened but wasn't sure what was going on until I read the news when I got up at around 10 this morning! Just thinking of building a chemical plant m near a residential area or even close to Gungahlin I live in harrison a few Kms north, we were woken by the bangs we also got emergency messages from the ESA on both mobile and landline phone. It was like a report of a bombing run in Libya or the like. Given Canberra has grown you do wonder why such a business is being run from a location so close to houses in Franklin.

I live in Franklin, on Oodgeroo Ave. I didn't receive any text messages or phone calls, in fact I only realised something was up when friends started flooding us with messages! We've all relied on the Canberra Times and ABC to keep us informed, however there was much confusion as to whether we were allowed to go to leave the house to go to work when the exclusion zone was reduced. It's interesting that parts of Mitchell have been included in the exclusion zone, however our house is much closer to the fire than some parts of Mitchell as the factory was on the cusp of Mitchell and Franklin and we're not included.

At the end of the day, thankfully noone was hurt. Agreed Kac, i am not far from you - Alec Hope Cr. Slept through the lot and never got a message. I am usually a light sleeper but bubby has been draining lately. Canberra Connect were great and, in relations to the number of queries they would have gotten, answered ina quick time.

We live in Franklin approximately 1km from the fire and were woken by large explosions around 2am. Of course we wanted to sticky beak so we walked to the end of our street to see what was going on, it was surreal the fireballs and flames were massive very hard to comprehend what was actually burning with that much energy, it was kind of like watching an action scene at the movies.

The night sky was light up with this wall of orange and contrasting that was thick smoke blacker than the night sky. We received the emergency phone call and yes was strange that palmerston gungahlin were not mentioned but last night the plume was blowing towards Epic so i can maybe see that the concern was very minimal. I have a friend who was evacuated, there house was one of the closest houses to the blaze will be interesting to see the photos they took. Places of work are easy as adults can get themselves home.

I imagine that no one wanted to face the prospect of staff having to evacuate hundreds of small children. I am glad they closed the schools and would have kept mine at home today regardless, until the situation became clearer. Our home is in Kaleen and so our phone records would show us as needing to receive the warning message, which we found on both our Telstra mobiles.

We are following the news via internet - which for the time being we have access to. We are currently travelling in outback South Australia. After complaints about lack of warnings for the devastating Canberra bushfires a few years ago, I for one am glad there is now a warning system in place.

Rather see some people inconvenienced than hear reports of debilitating injury and maybe deaths if no precautionary warning given and there was a sudden escalation of situation. This is an emergency situation and as such would be unpredictable except in hindsight of course Re: Spelling Maybe the poor spelling is deliberate so that the computer system relaying the message pronounces the suburbs properly? I was very impressed to receive a text message this morning warning us to stay indoors.

It sounds like it's the first time the system has been used. Well done to all!! Good luck to all the firefighters still out there, what a massive job. I too was impressed with the emergency response system. Woke to what I thought was loud thunder. Confused because the weather forecast had not predicted it. Within 5 minutes received the first SMS. Got out of bed to witness, from my bed room window, large flames licking the night sky and black acrid smoke billowing to the east.

There was no news at AM on the TV so I was pleased that we we adequately advised of the situation. The system is a credit to those that designed it. Well done. I live about m away from the fire as the crow flies. We're with Transact for both home and mobile phones, and got no messages. Thank goodness for Twitter at 2. I thought the am text message I received was a hoax because of the spelling mistakes it contained.

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We are from Kaleen but are in Brisbane. Got the warning message on my wife's phone but not on mine. Hope everyone is okay. Over lunch I was out to Woden and back via Fyshwick towards the city. The seat of the smoke column at Mitchell was still clearly visible from Red Hill Hindmarsh Drive with the plume heading east across the northern parts of Mt Majura.

We live in Kaleen and received a phone call only on our transact landline at 3. Appreciate the intent of the phone call, but was it really necessary at that time of the morning? Given the time of year and the time of day in the early Canberra Spring, it's very unlikely we'd be planning to be outside or have the windows open. Instead as a result of the early phone call we have a house full or cranky teenagers who got woken up early. Not sure if the 3. The text mesages which no-one in my household received - but I have read about on this forum - tends to reinforce my observations.

Appreciate the authorities are damned if they do and damned if they don't, but surely some commonsense should prevail. I appreciated the phone call as I got up and turned the ducted heating off. The early morning phone call also would have prevented calls to , police and fire brigade that would have otherwise been made. So personally I think common sense has prevailed.

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I would rather ESA be overly cautious so I can take precautions to protect my unborn baby and if that means your teenagers are a little grumpy I can live with that. I am glad there is a warning system in ACT and works very well. Thanks ACT government. I live in Kaleen. We have three mobile phones. Does anybody know why? Why did the ACT Government ever allow a toxic facility such as this to be established in a light industrial area so close to housing. Chemical industries have long had a history in Austrlalia of being very dangerous facilities and hazards to the community eg fires at chemical facilites in Altona and Sale are the clear recent examples.

Your question should be, why did they build new suburbs close by, Mitchell has been there for over 30 years. I'm going to hazard no pun intended a guess and say this "toxic facility" was built way before the houses. Mitchell has been light industrial since the s. The residential suburbs were only gazetted in the s.

Why did the ACT Government ever allow housing to be built so close to a light industrial area? The residential suburbs were put there because the ACT government has, since self-government was imposed in the s against residents' wishes, had many fewer sources of revenue than the other states and territories. That being so, selling "leasing" land within the ACT has been and remains one of the ACT government's main sources of revenue.

The temptation to sell ACT land for revenue, combined with a comparatively small land area within the ACT, leads to poor land use decisions such as in this case placing new residential suburbs next to existing light industrial zoned suburbs. Expect more poor land use decisions. But that's another topic. Everyone knows you need to keep space between your residential and industrial areas.

I heard nothing during the night. I live in Giralang. Listening to It was a Doh! The schools are a typically as using the fire as an excuse for another day off You must not have been listening to the radio hard enough. I was away from Harrison at the Gold Coast and I received the am text but no others. My wife also received her text but unfortunately didn't hear her mobile alert signal. Why would I receive a text to me at the Gold Coast and now I woinder if visitors to Canberra from out of town visiting near Mitchell may not have received a message. I live in Franklin about m from the fire at most.

We heard and felt all of the explosions throughout the night and could feel the heat from fireballs in our living room. If you think that authorities over reacted than you're a fool. The authorities have been doing an incredible job with this being the first use of the ACT's new Emergency Alert System. Some people have complained about spelling mistakes in it, but when you live this close to the actual incident they do not matter. We were just pleased to know what was going on and what the authorities needed us to do which was to stay in doors, close all doors and windows, shut off airconditioning and wait for further orders.

If orders came to evacuate than we would. I live in O'Connor and was woken at 2pm by distant rumbles that sounded like fireworks. Thinking back I realise I should have been more alarmed as it was cleary not natural and too loud for fireworks, but we were sleepy and it didn't seem close by Quietest day in the office for a long time, quiet on the roads on the way in and parking was a breeze!

Live in Franklin nearest to Wells Station Drive, about mtrs away. Thought it was thunder to start with then an earthquake. Grateful to receive the sms and voicemail message. Stood outside watching for half an hour then cops turned up telling us to go back inside. Easy drive into work. Live in Flynn 8. The video on this story says people within 10kms were warned to stay inside.

I had no idea this had even happened until long after I got to work. I did wake up around 2am, but that isn't anything unusual for me. From my observation, before i heard the explosions, the birds around campus were chirping like crazy during that early morning, which for me was a rarity. Scary thought. Nature knows best. Honestly, what the hell are people complaining about. This is Australia in , a bunch of whingers. Thanks emergency services for warning me and for doing the best job you could do in difficult circumstances.

Well said, agree with every word. There are far too many people who sit back, do nothing but criticise everything that everyone does. I live in Flynn within the 10 Km radius. No texts on mobile and no messages on land line. We are with Telstra so probably no surprise there. We heard from a friend after breakfast.

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