Bushfire refugees shocked by Kinglake damage

Bushfire refugees shocked by Kinglake damage

11 February 2009

published by www.theaustralian.news.com.au

Australia — The first wave of people returning to their homes in the devastated Kinglake fire zone are in shock at what they are seeing, fire authorities say.

Four days after the fires destroyed most of the town, many Kinglake residents returned to what was left of their homes for the first time on Wednesday.

“The people are in complete disarray and shock and are being staunch, but small things will have a big impact on them,” said Country Fire Authority (CFA) Divisional Commander James Dullard.

Mr Dullard said the CFA was paying particular care to the residents because they were emotional and fragile after the fire which killed many people in the town.

He said fire fighters were trying to put out fires in the area as quickly as possible, limiting the distress caused to residents who had already been through so much.

“If we have any outbreak of fire we respond to it quickly, based on the fact that it is going to cause some distress if it is not responded to quickly.”

Army tanks and bulldozers have joined the firefighting effort at Kinglake.

Two army armoured personnel carriers drove into the fire zone on Wednesday.

Mr Dullard said the army was helping create a control line ahead of weather that could worsen the risk of further fires.

“The army at this stage are attempting to establish a control line on the southwest edge of the fire so that we can be in a shored-up situation for the oncoming weekend,” he said.

“Later in the day, at a time yet to be decided, we will have some planned burning operations on the southern edge to shore that up and that will run in conjunction with the earth break that is being created by the earth moving equipment,” Mr Dullard said.

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