A survivor on Black Saturday, whose home was the only one left standing after the forest fires raging because he had illegally evicted his land, says property owners should take the law into their own hands if the authorities do nothing.
Liam Sheahan cleared trees and shrubs within 100 meters of his home in the hills near Strath Creek, central Victoria, in 2002 to cause a fire in case forest fires should ever strike.
Although Mr. Sheahan thought this was a & # 39; common sense & # 39; decision, the congregation did not, and brought him to court where fines and legal fees left him $ 100,000 out of pocket.
However, his decision to evict the land was justified on February 9, 2009, when his property was still standing after Black Saturday forest fires destroyed the small town.
Mr Sheahan spoke about his experience as a debate in both New South Wales and Queensland about whether adequate risk reduction and burn-up have been implemented in national parks after & # 39; catastrophic & # 39; fires in both states that have left four dead and destroyed more than 150 homes.
Mr. Sheahan is convinced that if he has his own & # 39; illegal & # 39; had not done a hazard reduction before Black Saturday, his family would have died.
Liam Sheahan (photo) decided to clear trees and stumble around his house in the hills near Strath Creek, central Victoria, to create a fire in case of fire. He was fined $ 50,000 for illegal logging by his city council, but was justified when his house survived Black Saturday
Devastating fires in much of Victoria on February 9, 2009, have claimed the lives of 181 people. Mr. Sheahan and his two children, all of whom worked as volunteers for the CFA, were able to stay and save their home while a wall of fire was knocked down. Their home was the only one left in the area. (On that day a fire truck is depicted in the Bunyip State Forest near the municipality of Tonimbuk)
& # 39; When people move to the bush, it's not like they can clean it up. We had a nice house with trees all around, & Mr. 39 told. Sheahan to Daily Mail Australia.
& # 39; We didn't want to hack everything. We didn't do the Queensland solution to clear the entire block, but we just cleaned up the immediate garden around the house.
& # 39; On Black Saturday, after the fires had arrived, we were the only remaining house.
The fires in Strath Creek claimed one life, while 11 people died in nearby Hazeldene.
While the Sheahans came from Black Saturday alive and with their house upright, it was a close call.
During the night of February 9, their house caught fire eight times. They also lost several barns, a Range Rover and two Subarus, as well as a truck and a trailer to prevent attacks.
& # 39; I was in the Country Fire Authority, just like my son and daughter, so we had fought before and thought we knew the risks, we thought we would be well prepared if a fire came through & # 39 ;, said Mr. Sheahan.
& # 39; But we found out that day that we were barely sufficiently prepared. & # 39;
Deadly fires in Canberra in January 2003, where four were killed and 470 homes were destroyed, and the Black Saturday fires in 2009, where 173 were killed and more than 200 houses were raised, were both blamed for excessive dry fuel in the bush .
Mr Sheahan, pictured in 2009 alongside his son Rowan, stands on the edge of his property in Strath Creek, in downtown Victoria. Behind him in the middle of the clearing, his house is still standing, while burnt forest extends as far as the eye can see
Forest fires in NSW, Canberra and Victoria may get out of hand over the past 25 years because hot weather and an excess of dry fuel on the ground form a deadly cocktail. (Firefighters are pictured at Upwey, east of Melbourne, on Black Saturday)
Soldiers are pictured looking for bushfire victims in the Kinglake district of Victoria after Black Saturday in 2009
Although hundreds of fires have been burned in both NSW and Queensland in the last week, there are concerns that the worst is yet to come.
With a dangerously hot summer forecast, there is debate as to whether more efforts to reduce the dangers and burn back could have reduced the impact of the fire.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian have both refused to join the debate and now say that this is not the time for politics.
THE BLACK BUSHFIRES SATURDAY OF 2009
Black Saturday took place on February 7, 2009, when an estimated 400 fires swept through Victoria.
The last death toll was 180, with another 414 people injured.
Most of the killed – 113 – were in houses, while 27 were outside houses and 11 were in vehicles.
A fireman, ACT's 47-year-old David Balfour, was killed near Cambarville when a burned-out tree fell on him.
Black Saturday burned 450,000 hectares of land and destroyed 3,500 buildings, including more than 2,000 houses.
More than 11,800 head of cattle were destroyed.
More than 60,000 hectares of grassland were lost and 10,000 km of fencing was destroyed or damaged.
& # 39; That is what they always say & # 39 ;, says Mr. Sheahan, who believes that this is the perfect time to discuss the policy on organized burn wounds before the consequences are forgotten again.
& # 39; I think it's a combination of ideology and ignorance. You need three things for a fire: heat, oxygen, and fuel, & he said.
& # 39; Now we can't do much about the heat and we can't do much about the oxygen, so the only thing we have control over is the fuel.
& # 39; There are people who seriously believe that organized burns are bad, but in Australia we have really good fire brigades and they have only gotten better over the years.
& # 39; It's not like they come in and light a match and let the whole forest burn down.
& # 39; Animals are not stupid, they are not just sitting there and thinking "ah, I am going to die" …
& # 39; But if a disastrous fire occurs as we have seen recently, the animals burn dead and all vegetation is completely destroyed anyway. & # 39;
Hollywood legend Russell Crowe was also justified by his decision to take matters into his own hands this week when his home in Nana Glen, outside of Coffs Harbor, in NSW, was threatened by the raging heroes.
The actor posted a photo of his house on Instagram on Thursday and said: & # 39; We interrupted this firebreak ten years ago. It has done its job exactly. & # 39;
Despite his heavy financial stress after his fight with Mitchell Shire Council, Mr. Sheahan said that if he had time again, he would not change anything.
He says that as soon as the sun came up on February 10, 2009, it was clear that he had made the right decision.
Hollywood actor Russell Crowe posted this photo on Instagram after a fire raged by Nana Glen this week outside of Coffs Harbor. He claimed that & # 39; a firebreak that he went through 10 years ago … did exactly his job & # 39;
Mr. Sheahan believes that it is & # 39; ridiculous & # 39; is that homeowners are unable to clear their own land and property (the ruins of a house and car are depicted at Flowerdale, north of Melbourne, after Black Saturday in 2009)
& # 39; We would not be there if we had not cleaned our house. We were the only ones (in the area) who survived, & said Mr. Sheahan
& # 39; We would not be there if we had not cleaned our house. We were the only ones who survived, & said Mr. Sheahan.
& # 39; In forest areas you make provisions for fires, just as if you live in a somewhat rugged inner city area, you take precautions for your personal safety.
& # 39; It is your home and you cannot do it due to threats of a fine from the municipality. I just think it's ridiculous.
& # 39; It may not be today and it may not have been for 10 years, but the reality is that it will burn one day.
& # 39; It's Australia, that's what happens. & # 39;
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