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The night embers became fireworks
Ten years on, Kilmore CFA member Ian Wilson still recalls his New Years’ Eve plans being interrupted by a bushfire near Glenhope, south of Heathcote – but discovered that nature can create a truly memorable fireworks display.
***Ian Wilson is a CFA volunteer who is being profiled as part of a special series celebrating National Volunteer Week***
For Ian, who has been a member at Kilmore for 10 and a half years now, the 2005 Glenhope/Baynton fire was one of his first big fires as a volunteer firefighter.
“We drove to the fire, and as it happened we arrived just as the head of the fire was jumping the road.
“Our crew were just in time to save a home,” he said.
Ian says he remembers choppers flying overhead and the fire front running right under the truck. His crew followed standard safety procedures and were able to carry on with the fire fight.
But what has stuck in his mind even ten years later was – as night fell – looking around at nightfall to see what he describes as “our own fireworks show”.
“You looked out over the hills and all over the place, trees and branches were falling and as they fell they were throwing up embers.
“You could see them kind of billowing around all over the place. It looked like fireflies. And in between that you could see the red and blue flashing lights from the fire trucks,” he said.
“It’s ten years ago but I’ll never forget it,”
When Ian finally got back home it was one or two in the morning on New Years’ Day.
“We’d had some people over to celebrate and they were all there still waiting for me. I don’t remember much more, but it was a long day.”
Ian has recently served as a 4th Lieutenant at Kilmore Brigade, is a qualified Air Observer and also volunteers as a leader for the brigade’s Juniors program.
Since the Glenhope/Baynton fire, Ian has since been out to several much larger fires and incidents, including the North East/ Whitfield and Melba Hwy/Yea fires in 2006 the Black Saturday fires (2009) and more recently the Mickleham- Kilmore fire in 2014. He also served at the 2012 floods in Nathalia 2012.
Ian hopes that his story and stories of others in Volunteer Week inspire others to take the plunge.
“I wish I had done it years before instead of just thinking about it,” he said.