Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

The people you meet

In a week when nineteen fire fighters died battling wild fires in Arizona I want to tell you about a woman I met yesterday, right here in Broken Hill.

Vivien Thomson was Incident Controller in the Australian bush fires that swept through parts of Canberra and the ACT in 2003. She spent over 25 years as a rural fire fighter and she was presented with the Australian Fire Service medal in 2004. You’d pass her in the street and never know.

Vivien has just published a book – Ashes of the Firefighters – that documents the harrowing physical and emotional journeys of nine firefighters. All of them have experienced a major bushfire event.

Living in Australia, where bush fires are commonplace, we rely on such people to keep us safe from harm when fire threatens. They are often unpaid volunteers, and they risk their lives every time they get called out.

The tragic events of this week show just how dangerous that job can be.

Vivien Thomson

Vivien Thomson

2 comments on “The people you meet

  1. whichwaynow101
    July 5, 2013

    Thanks for posting. I live 100 miles from Yarnell and the tragedy has been very much on everyone’s mind here in Arizona. We need to appreciate the courageous people who keep us safe.


  2. debhuntinbrokenhill
    July 6, 2013

    It’s humbling to know there are strangers out there who work to keep us all safe.


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I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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