Heart bleeds for Grampians

THE famous Grampians National Park is hurting once more.

Make no mistake, this grand part of the world will return bigger than ever.

Living in Horsham during the time of the famous Mt Lubra fire in 2006 - the images and news coming from the Grampians area is so eerily similar.

The Mt Lubra fire was started by lightning.

By the time this fire was done, 130,231 hectares had burned by a blaze boasting a 371-kilometre perimiter.

A father and son perished.

The fire consumed 40 houses, 72 other buildings, 62,600 sheep and 160 cattle.

It was devastating.

The trademark of these fires is the enormous plume of smoke that rises high above the Grampians. It was there then, sadly, it's back today.

But of all the horror pictures of devastated families, burning trees, roaring flames - it was the smaller things that consumed my mind on Friday.

The day Horsham turned blood orange.

Standing in the Wimmera Mail-Times car park - more than 45 minutes by car from the Grampians - everything was orange and so amazingly silent.

Ash gently rained from the sky and blanketed everything - such a stark contrast to the horrendous fire front that was the cause of this strange afternoon.

Photographer Melissa Powell took an amazing picture that day of Troy Cowan hosing down a fern in the backyard of his Wartook property - his world was blood orange, too.

Sadly, given the ferocity of the fire that passed through Wartook in the past 48 hours, I wonder if that fern survived this time around?

I remember the story of John Parker who armed with plastic buckets waged a lone and fruitless battle to save his home and kiosk business beside the superb Mackenzie Falls.

He nearly won but for a tree that exploded nearby and showered the home in embers.

He nearly won but for a tree that exploded nearby and showered the home in embers.

He saved the kiosk.

The most touching part of John's story arrived long after the fire had left. 

As he sat with the ruins and what was left of the once beautiful landscape that surrounded him, an 'old mate' kangaroo who all but lived at the Parker place appeared out of the smoke haze - safe and sound. Amazing.

There was the person who told of looking out the window to see kangaroos and other wildlife fleeing down their street - followed by a giant fireball which chased them with such determined ferocity.

There was the father who told of crouching, frozen in fear, at the very sight of the fire front roaring towards his home.

He willed himself out of the crouch for the sake of his family and his home.

Such resilience will be on show in the Grampians right now.

It will also be the driving force behind the resurgence of the Grampians - just like 2006.

Be safe everyone.

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