Fast-acting vollies save couple’s home in Napier, avert disaster in tough conditions

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Yvonne and Peter Page among charred blue gums on their Napier property.
Camera IconYvonne and Peter Page among charred blue gums on their Napier property. Credit: Liam Croy

Peter and Yvonne Page cannot work out how the volunteer firefighters got to their place so quickly.

About 1pm on Sunday, when the Stirling Ranges bushfires were at their worst and winds were gusting above 60km/h in Albany, a fire started on the boundary of their Napier property.

They could smell smoke, but it was not until they received a phone call that they realised the fire was almost on top of them.

The flames were metres away from rows of blue gums on land they lease to Australian Bluegum Plantations.

Volunteer firefighters battle a blaze in Napier.
Camera IconVolunteer firefighters battle a blaze in Napier. Credit: Liam Croy

The Pages rushed to get a firefighting unit onto their ute, but with such strong winds, the situation seemed dire for them and others living nearby.

“We saw the fire starting and thought ‘how the hell are we going to stop this?’,” Mr Page said.

“Next thing I knew there were fire trucks coming from everywhere.

“I was thinking ‘we’re in trouble here’, but before we could even get started, the firefighting units were there. I don’t know how they got there so quick.”

Peter Page watches on with hose in hand.
Camera IconPeter Page watches on with hose in hand.

The fire jumped Yungup Road and spread into the blue gum plant-ation, sending flames 20m high.

Volunteer firefighters attacked the blaze while the Pages put out spot fires around their home.

At one point the wind swung around and started blowing towards them.

A water bomber gave the volunteers some assistance and gave the Page household a light drenching for good measure.

A water bomber in action in Napier.
Camera IconA water bomber in action in Napier. Credit: Liam Croy

With the help of a clearing which acted as a fire break, firefighters managed to stop the fire reaching the next section of blue gums.

“It was just fantastic what they did,” Mr Page said.

“Had it got away it would have just about burnt half of Napier. I think it would have taken some stopping.”

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