For most of my life our family has been coming to Batemans Bay for our summer holiday. Our house is close to the beach, in the bush surrounded by large gum trees. It’s a lovely setting but a bad bushfire risk.
This summer the fire danger period seems to have arrived earlier. As I write, fires are burning out of control just north of Batemans Bay and the Princes Highway, the main road from here to Sydney, is closed. Last weekend a fire came within a kilometre of Braidwood, a small town on the way to Canberra, and the highway to Canberra was closed.
In March 1965 Batemans Bay was threatened by bushfires. I was too young to remember. In those days we used to rent a house for the holidays; this was before my parents had built a beach house of our own.
In 1971 there were bushfires again, but we were overseas. Our house came close to being burnt down. The Briggs and Bailey holiday cottages are very near my parents’ house.
In 1980 there were worries about the fire season
The summer of 1993 /94 was a bad summer for fires, and our house was threatened once again. The flames came very close. My mother, cooking dinner in the kitchen, looked out the window: there was the fire, coming down the hill. My father was busy putting out embers. The wind changed just in time.
As you can guess, I follow the fire news closely. From today’s news we are reading about fires just north of us: