Mr Dave Munro
I remember on 20 December 2019 how happy I was to finish work. It was a Friday, it was summer and I had a few days’ break before starting the new year in a new role.
It was hot that day and I was looking forward to coming home and enjoying a cold ale and unwinding. But something didn’t feel right that day and when I got home the weather was sort of different. It was hot and dry, yet I looked out to the west and I could see the dry lightning approaching. I have been living here at Panorama for 20 years, my 12 acres backs onto a Council reserve, and it’s a lovely property. The dry lightning was getting closer and closer and it was the first time in 20 years I felt threatened by fire and thought that my property and surrounds were at risk.
Our plan has always been to grab our pets and leave. Our plan is also to do as much as we can before leaving, wet down the property as much as possible, fill the fire fighting trailer and turn on sprinklers. When you see the vision of the recent fires, you realise that there isn’t really much you can do against the firestorms and anything you do on the day is a token to what you should have done months ago.
We were, in Mitcham, very fortunate on the day that we never had a lightning strike in our area. Of course there are many on KI and Cudlee creek that were not so fortunate and suffered all sorts of trauma and continue to fight on bravely. A work colleague of mine lost his paddocks, fences, sheds and all of his hay, but he managed to save his house after spending all night putting out spot fires and dousing falling embers. There are those that lost a lot more and my thoughts are with them.
As we head into the cooler months it is time to assess what needs to be done in order to avoid a devastating event such as the one that has had an impact on our nation recently. While we can enjoy the view of the hills’ green canopy from the plains, we need to consider what we should be doing before next summer.
On a sadder note, the chamber has been without Councillor Fisher for a couple of months as he has been given leave whilst recovering from a recent medical condition. The chamber is very different without Stephen. His knowledge of Mitcham and mannerisms certainly set him apart from others and I wish his family and friends all the best during this time.