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Christmas represents a range of opportunities for our communities. It’s a time to reflect on the year past, a chance to embrace the love of a family, a celebration of friendship and the birth of change in the form of New Years resolutions for a better way of life.

It’s not uncommon for Christmas celebrations to be interrupted by fires that take our firefighters away from family and the festivities of the season. Let’s hope that this Christmas will be a quiet day for all firefighters across Australia.

As a society, we have become afraid of fire and much of that fear is attributed to media hype and sensationalism for a number of reasons that include justification of big budgets by over bureaucratic fire services who have lost touch with the bush.

In times past, fires would burn and locals would not bat an eyelid. Indigenous and agricultural burning were a regular occurrence and were used as a land management tool.

In refection of the past, we (as a society) have neglected the bush, allowing fuels to grow to a point that has become extremely dangerous to us and the ecology.

All is not lost, we can draw parallels with the Christmas message of birth. In a fire and land management sense, our saviour is a reconnection with the bush.

This Christmas, I leave you with the following video “Return of the Firestick” from Living Knowledge Place. It is an excellent production that I hope will inspire you to re-engage with the country that was managed so well by Indigenous Australians.

My New Years resolution will be to learn as much as I can about the country that is in my care.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2017.

Regards
Mick Holton
President of the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association

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