News & Media

The face behind those photos

  • Sally Patterson
  • Mike Evans

Amazing photos from roadside planned burns in South West Victoria have been appearing on the Lismore and District Rural Fire Brigades’ Group Facebook page.

Sally Patterson is an operational member of the Lismore Brigade, the Secretary and Treasurer of the Lismore Group and a keen photographer.

‘I love to capture a moment in time. Photography has made me look at the world in a different way’, Sally said.

Much of her photography focuses on planned burning around the Lismore area, an activity she is passionate about. This is driven by early childhood memories.

‘When I was a very small child, my mother left it too late to leave home in a bushfire and when the wind changed, three firefighters perished at our front gate’, she explained.

‘That made a big impact on how I thought of fire and I decided it was better to know your enemy, so to speak,

‘Now that I have a better understanding of fire, I realise that it can be worked with, and used as a tool’, she said.

Sally hopes that by capturing and sharing images of roadside planned burns, that those who don’t understand fire will be encouraged to think about how much heat and smoke can be produced by a small fire in safe conditions, and then extend their thinking to what this same fire could be like in hot and windy conditions.

She wants communities to realise that fires can be deadly and that early preparation is essential.

She is grateful to her local brigades, those that travel from as far as Grovedale and Geelong West to assist, and FFMVic crews who also travel up from the coast and the Otways, all putting in hours of work creating fire breaks to protect local communities.

‘Our Burn Controllers, ATV fire igniters and all the crews put in a huge number of hours, days in fact, when roadside burning happens. I don't think the community understands just how much time and preparation goes into it, all for their benefit’, Sally said.

‘I hope it makes the locals who see the photos think about how much time and effort the vols put in to keep the community as safe as possible’, she said.

Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) is the new branding for DELWP and Parks Victoria forest fire fighters.

Last Updated: 08 March 2017