By Michael Giles
The idiom that ‘fire is a good servant but a bad master’ is very well understood in Australia where bushfires in dry summers regularly ravage the countryside, as we have seen in graphic detail along the Great Ocean Road in the past week.
Unfortunately fire has also characterised much of 2015 in the Wonthaggi area.
But while the Wye River-Separation Creek fire started through natural causes, due to lightning strike, our fires locally have been deliberately lit.
And it has only been through good luck and the incredible volunteer efforts of our CFA fire fighters that no one has been badly injured or worse.
Hopefully, though, we may soon be able to rule a line off at the end of 2015 and start again with a clean slate and a normal life next year, free of the threats posed by these arsonists.
It is understood that police may have their best lead yet in relation to the Wonthaggi fires after reports that the culprit was seen lighting a fire in the area on Boxing Day.
Hopefully the information will lead to an early arrest and prosecution.
Police are also believed to be questioning someone in connection with a totally unrelated fire, at a house in Cape Paterson on Monday this week, December 28, although they have subsequently denied making any arrests.
No one can know the consequences of deliberately lighting a fire, being careless with fire or allowing a fire to remain alight on high fire danger days but if ever there was a place where there have been plenty of examples, it’s here in Victoria.
Those living in coastal bush areas or who enjoy the cool comfort of living among the trees in rural areas face enough challenges during a long, hot summer without the risk of someone starting fires deliberately.
As stressed before, fires can start through various means and we all need to plan ahead and stay alert to what is going on in our local area.