David Flower has spent six decades fighting fires across Australia.
David Flower has spent six decades fighting fires across Australia.

1000 fires, 63 years, one Chatsworth man

DAVID Flower's first battle with a raging blaze was in the Blue Mountains when he was 16 years old. And it was like working in a different era.

"The farmer had an old Bedford (with 200L drums) … we had (hessian) bags and gum branches, and that was it," he said.

"The thing that really hit me was these rabbits would come out of their burrows, and they were alight. And they ran … they were fire lighters."

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But now, 63 years and more than 1000 fires later (including last week's at Black Snake), the veteran Chatsworth volunteer wouldn't have it any other way.

David Flower.
David Flower.

As a career horticulturist, Mr Flower has worked up and down Australia's eastern states helping people keep their properties safe from fire.

"The (houses) that didn't burn were the ones who planted deciduous trees," he said.

Mr Flower said the past fortnight's fire emergency highlighted the need for a closer look. "We have so much unmanaged land now."

He said Black Snake was covered in green panic but "lantana by the mile".

"Near the edge they've sprayed … but not inside.

"It's being bought by governments, but there's no grazing back on it."