Fierce Winds Wildfire
Grace Tibbitts, Grade 7
Everywhere she looked, she saw a sea of fire. It rained embers all around. To her horror, every gum-tree and native plant was being roasted. The mountains, that were once serene, were now a blazing inferno. Helplessly she watched, as the fire propelled by gale force winds, spread within minuets, from the forest behind their Aussie farm, and across the parched paddocks, towards them. Embers flew and sparked fires simultaneously across their land.
Grandmas hands shook as dialled 000, and described the scene, unfolding like a nightmare all around her. A volunteer truck arrived to help, but their efforts were like a drop in a raging ocean. The forest roads were to dangerous to evacuate with the gale force winds.
Bravely she rushed down the dirt road towards the dairy shed and the 1800's first-settlers hut, but it was to late! The fire ignited the ancient wooden buildings and they simultaneously went up like atomic bombs. She was still in disbelief, when suddenly the glowing coral-hot vehicles nearby, exploded. Kaboom! Kaboom! She fled back up to the home, past pine trees and magnificent fig trees, that were igniting. Embers, the size of arms, rained down on their veranda. She frantically threw them off. The horrendous, smokey air was suffocating. Yet there was no time to stop. The fire raged and ripped through their entire farm, and for five hours they heroically defended it.
Their terrified cattle, horses, sheep, and poultry ran frantically as the fences, cattle yard, and fowl pens combusted. It was agony watching everything they had built, being ferociously engulfed by flames. Together, they bravely hosed their 1930’s weatherboard home, as fire lapped from every surrounding tree like an inferno threatening to engulf them.
Suddenly the hoses stopped providing water! ‘This is surely not possible!?’, vexed grandma?! Up the hill, gazing past all the hazy smoke, she saw the two green tanks melting! Anguished, they watched as the lifesaving water in the tanks burst forth, onto the ground far away. Poppy dashed to connect up the remaining tank, and they continued to water for a total of five tense hours. The fire burnt many homes in their area, but due to their efforts, theirs was saved. The region was declared a state of emergency. The sound of cicadas and singing birds had varnished, and native animals and livestock were lost.
The weeks that followed proved their resolve. Poppy rescued neighbours, cut off from fallen trees, cleared roads single-handedly and delivered hay. He volunteered tirelessly, into the night for weeks. Meanwhile, grandma bucketed water to their animals, and put out spot fires with no water-tanks, electricity, or phone-lines.
They looked out at their farm, now desolate and barren. The animals so needy. The Aussie battlers in their 60’s were utterly exhausted. ‘Now we must begin the huge clean up’, they thought, ‘but where do we even begin?’
That was two years ago, and they’ve worked tirelessly ever since. My Poppy and grandma are heroes!