Tim Mulligan

My son turned 25 two weeks' ago. At 21 he made a decision, almost too late (ten minutes, he says), that saved his life. Four others made the only other choice and died.

The intensity of the fire at Traralgon South on Black Saturday, was in places so great, that the only way of surviving would possibly have been in an underground, sealed bunker with a fire door protected from radiation. The only other choice was to leave. The house, where the four died, burned with such intensity that brick walls crumbled to rubble and the alloy bonnet of one of the cars melted and ran down the driveway. My son and other young friends helped prepare the house for the fire but chose to leave with knowledge of an impending wind change that resulted in a bad bushfire becoming a firestorm. Robyn Annear writes in 'Next Time' of the reactionary attitude of many to bushfire rather than preparation, and although there will be many circumstances where good preparation will save lives and houses there are also some circumstances where the only real option is to leave. Four years on I am certain that had my son chosen badly he would not have turned 25. Still too sadly, two close friends, 21 and 22 years only.

Tim Mulligan
Warragul VIC