Living in a bushland area you have to be aware that, sooner or later, you are going to face a bushfire threat.
This week we had our first close encounter at our current home.
We decided to go for a quick drive to establish just how close it was and to see if we needed to take any sort of action.
We were told by the local firies that it was a controlled burn but the fire had jumped the containment lines and they were now trying to get it back under control.
Back home I checked the various news sites to see what they were saying – nothing.
I uploaded a photo to both Facebook and Twitter at about 1.24pm, clearly indicating it was a bushfire – not a burn-off.
Massive bushfire around Clear Mountain. pic.twitter.com/RGQHmojCwA
— Ann Lund (@Landunn) July 30, 2014
By this time Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) had issued an update:
Cashmere (NW Brisbane) – grass fire as at 1.15pm. 11 crews on scene at fire burning near Wessling Close.
And if you read on:
QFES firefighters are working with Moreton Bay Regional Council fire management personnel and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) crews to protect several properties in the area. Residents are asked to close windows and doors and if suffering from a respiratory condition, keep medications close by. Residents who are concerned their home is under threat should call triple zero (000) immediately.
There’s no doubt there was a genuine concern for some properties in the area.
But still there was nothing in the media – despite now being able to see huge plumes of smoke from the motorway and the city.
The first mention of it was at around 3pm after the QFES issued this:
WATCH AND ACT message for #bushfire at #Cashmere (north west of Brisbane) as at 2.45pm
This went on to read:
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is advising residents… to enact their bushfire plans… The large fire is travelling in an easterly direction and is expected to impact the areas… within the next two hours. Residents are advised that if their plan is to relocate or they do not have a plan then they are advised to relocate now.
And then this:
Currently, 16 fire crews are working to contain the blaze but firefighters may not be able to protect every affected property and residents should not expect a firefighter at their door.
Suddenly the media took note and social media was a buzz with #BREAKING and #JUST IN.
At least two news outlets reported the fire broke out at 2.45pm.
If anyone checked the fire actually began at around 8am:
#SmokeAlert – Hazard reduction burn @ Cashmere at 8am @ Wessling Close Park and adjoining private property.
It wasn’t even correct to report that it jumped containment lines at 2.45pm – but some news outlets did initially report this.
And it wasn’t just the media who seemed to be slow to pick up on this story.
At 3.12pm I received an email alert from – ironically – the Early Warning Network containing the information in the 2.45pm QFES alert!
I have to say living in Australia you need to be aware of the extraordinary weather threats – drought, flood, cyclones, tropical storms, bushfires – and in my 17 years here I’ve pretty much experienced all of them to some degree.
Meanwhile the bushfires continue burning in the area, but are currently under control.