Once in a lifetime

By Melissa Meehan
PAKENHAM’S Wayne Nutting remembers last year’s bushfire season as if it were yesterday.
And if he forgets he can always jump on YouTube and re-live the moments Strike Team 0846 shared in Labertouche North.
“Martin Anderson from the CFA media unit decided it would be good to film the conditions our guys endured so he asked to tag along,” Mr Nutting recalled this week.
“He managed to get some good footage which even ended up being on the news.”
He said Black Saturday was like nothing he had experienced before and even those who had experienced Ash Wednesday agreed.
This was mainly due to the speed of the fire and the horrendous temperatures crews faced.
Deployed to Jindivick early that morning, Mr Nutting and his crew beat the fire to the fire ground.
“The wind picked up at 11am,” he said.
“But at 11.58 to be exact, all hell started to break loose.
“Wind speed increased, humidity dropped and the temperature was like nothing I can explain.”
As conditions changed, Mr Nutting said the Bunyip Ridge fire broke through the state park and made a run through the grasslands towards the townships of Labertouche and Drouin.
He said arriving back to the staging ground to hear news of lives lost in Kilmore, Kinglake and Marysville was devastating.
“Knowing we were fortunate enough to deal with grass fires and people lost their lives, it was just so sad.”

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