As the ACT Fire Enquiry stumbles on, I decided it might be time to drag out my own reminiscences of the fires in Canberra back in 2003.
I actually had to deal with two fires. First the one (or ones) that tore through south west Canberra on January 18 and then the fires which threatened my mother’s property in the northern Brindabella’s nearly two weeks afterwards.
The first fire was a communal experience, through our shared memories, the benefit concerts and the media. Community leaders expressed sorrow and the community chipped in for the uninsured.
The second fire, affecting only us and the few other isolated houses on our road, was shared just by my mother and me and a few anonymous firemen. It has never been very satisfying trying to relate this story verbally. I can’t put it in words very well that way, so I guess this is partly an attempt to do a bit better, to get that sense of catharsis when you feel somebody understands what you went through. [Read more →]