8 Feb 2009, 10:12pm
Latest Fire News
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Fire plans no help in killer Victorian bushfires

News.com.AU, Feb. 9, 2009 [here]

VICTORIA’S Premier John Brumby said the state may need to review its bushfire policy of “stay and defend or leave early” in light of the appalling death toll from the bushfire disaster.

Mr Brumby said the Government would this week initiate a royal commission into the Victorian bushfires and the lead-up to them. “It will look at everything,” his spokesman said this afternoon.

He said the Government and authorities’ long-standing approach of advising people to have a bushfire plan ready to either stay to defend their homes or leave well before the fire became a threat had in many cases not saved people at the weekend.

“I think when the time comes to examine in-depth all of the issues that occurred on Saturday, obviously fire policy will be one of those areas,” Mr Brumby told Fairfax Radio Network.

“People will want to review that, examine that, it may be right, it may not be. It’s served us well for 20 years or more - that is, if you decide to leave, leave early and if you decide to stay make sure you’ve got a fire plan.

“But there is no question that there were, you will talk to them there at Whittlesea, there is no question that there were people there who did everything right, put in place their fire plan and it wouldn’t matter, their house was just incinerated.”

Mr Brumby said in the Boolarra fires at Gippsland last week, everybody who had stayed to defend their homes with a fire plan had saved their homes and survived.

“It’s not true to say that of the fire on Saturday. There were many people who had done all of the preparations, had the best fire plans in the world and tragically it didn’t save them.”

He had spoken to one couple from Kinglake who were ready to defend their home but had to flee at the last moment, saving their family but losing their house.

“They put their fire plan in place, they did everything right, 30 metres of grass, water in spouts, everything, and they were going to save their house and they said it just came over, like a sun almost, a fireball just came over.

“Their kitchen just exploded and they left in the car and miraculously they survived.

“But how else do you describe that, it is, it’s like hell on earth.”



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