'If the fire comes we'll make a dash'

JEFF Pearce loves his new house at the foot of Mount Archer.

But if the bushfires currently burning in the national park threaten it, he won't stick around to protect it.

“We'll get the three kids, the dog and the cat and make a dash for it,” he said yesterday.

“It's what we have insurance for.”

Jeff, who lives in Cascade Close at the very end of Frenchville Road, wielded the whipper-snipper yesterday to give his home the best chance of surviving a blaze.

But if the hot winds change direction as feared, he fears the worst.

“It's worrying. There's heaps of fuel in the hills and if it comes with a vengeance it will rip through here.

“We made a plan when we moved in in January and decided to play it safe and leave. I won't be able to make much of a difference with a garden hose.”

Looking to the cloudless blue skies he said perhaps the only thing that could save the prestige houses cut into the mountain was a storm.

“You can see by the marks on the trees that major fires have ripped through here in the past. If the conditions are right, it will be really scary.”

Firefighters yesterday urged residents in Norman Gardens, Frenchville and Nerimbera whose homes bordered the bush to be on the alert.

And Superintendent John Fischer warned that if people had not prepared the homes on the eastern fringes of the city, it could be safer to leave them.

Crews abandoned a plan to backburn the western side of the mountain yesterday afternoon because the swirling winds would make flames impossible to control.

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