STANLEY: Speaking of politicians the Member for Macquarie in the Blue Mountains is Susan Templeman, I first knew Susan when we were both reporters working for what is now this network at Parliament House in Canberra back in the 80s. She’s now the Member for Macquarie in an area where they are ringed by bushfires. I think Susan is on the line – Hello Susan?
TEMPLEMAN: Hi John
STANLEY: In 2013 you were in the midst of the tragedy there weren’t you, in your street, and people around you?
TEMPLEMAN: Yeah, so we were one of two hundred families who lost our house in the 2013 Bushfires, and I think that’s probably why I’m very focussed on what we’re looking at here in the Blue Mountains and the Hawkesbury today, because it’s going to be potentially a pretty grim couple of days.
STANLEY: Yeah okay, so you lost your house in 2013, this is frightening for people who are there, it would be very smoky, it’d be very frightening, what do you do, you’ve gotta stay with your house, you’ve gotta keep listening to the radio, you gotta look at your neighbours, you’re all involved, I assume, in some way with the Rural Fire Service as well.
TEMPLEMAN: Yeah, it’s really important that neighbours talk to each other but there’s also now compared to 2013 some great technology because there’s the Fires Near Me App, and we’re really encouraging people to look at that. There’s been big community meetings at the Rural Fire Brigade Stations, places like Yarramundi and Kurrajong Heights and Bowen Mountain – all three places that it is highly likely, depending on the winds, that the fires will reach over the next couple of days. But also the Lower Mountains and in fact all the way up to the top of the Mountains is in the line of fire potentially. And the Rural Fire Brigades were all open last night for people to go in and check their fire plan, because that’s the key thing; deciding are you going to stay and defend your home, there is advice to many people that if your home is not built to the new standards then it may not be defendable, and you need to think about when you would leave. So there is a very serious threat, today, this afternoon, through till Saturday. And people do need to decide, you know, get the cage ready for your pet to go in, know where you’re going to go, think about the things that you’d really like to hang on to.
STANLEY: Yeah and look I know…so you rebuilt your house after 2013?
TEMPLEMAN: We did. We rebuilt on the same block, and of course when you rebuild you have to build to much higher standards then when we first built our house in Winmalee in the 1990s. So there’s no timber on the outside and you know in theory it should be reasonably resilient but these fires that we’re seeing – I’ve talked to over the last five weeks lots of really seasoned fire fighters who tell me they have not seen anything like this fire when it gets a run. It’s like a giant beast, it goes to sleep for a day or two and then it wakes up.
STANLEY: Alright listen we’ll keep in touch with you, I’m glad we’re able to get an update from you so the people who are, I guess, not that far away from you, in many cases, know what you’re going through and how scary it all is, and I know politics goes to one side in situations like this, I think I saw a couple of weeks ago a picture of you and Tony Abbott was up there fighting and you were sitting there taking a bit of a break, and there are so many fire fighters doing that work, day after day, week after week.
TEMPLEMAN: Yeah it was great to see Tony out here with the Davidson Crew, and that’s not the only time he’s been out – our volunteer fire fighters absolute heroes, as are the SES, the fire and rescue people who are out here, the Parks and Wildlife guys, incredible people doing their very best in extraordinary circumstances.
STANLEY: Okay we’re thinking of you Susan, we’ll keep in touch thank you.