For three hours
firefighters battle to save a house
beside The Gurdies Nature Reserve.
Two helicopters dump thirty-two
1,500 litre loads of dam water
to stop fire’s spread. 7.50 pm
faces smeared with charcoal sweat
firefighters finally contain it
fold up hoses, prepare to leave
except crews to monitor site.
Pager goes off. A second fire
on Grantville’s foreshore. Like banshees
fire engines scream off.
But firefighters cannot access fire.
they slash access along disused track
get small vehicle through.
To reach face of fire
they unravel hose six hundred metres
hose down burning reeds
in sand near water’s edge.
Plume of thick smoke spirals skyward.
Fire licks trunks of paperbarks
reaches for dry brush canopy.
Sparks fly. Wind carries embers
to houses, gardens, yards in Grantville.
Watchful residents extinguish them
before spot fires flare.
1.30 am, satisfied fire contained
firefighter head for home. Four hours in bed,
then, unheralded heroes, they are up again
to check the fire sites.