Bushfires are serious business. Even in a car the roaring flames, acrid smoke, and minimal visibility make travel through a fire treacherous. For these Aussie cops though, the fire is no drama. The Queensland Police Service released this footage of their motorcycle-mounted officers riding through the fires, knocking on doors, and evacuating residents as a serious bushfire rages around them.
The bravery of these officers is compounded when you look at the history of bushfires in Australia. During the 2009 Black Saturday fires near Melbourne, Australia that killed 173 people, many succumbed when their vehicles were overrun by the fires.
Despite the obvious dangers, these police officers spent their evening ensuring Queensland residents were able to leave safely. While we marvel at this video, it’s important to note that you should never attempt to flee a fire on your motorcycle. Fires can move miles at a time as winds carry embers and flames ahead of the fire front itself, making it nearly impossible to outrun a fire.
Not only that, but the air quality, reduced visibility and searing heat can quickly debilitate both rider and machine. If you live in an area that is under bushfire threat, there are generally two options.
- Flee early
- Remain in place and prepare to protect your home.
Most fire safety experts advocate for option one as the best option. If you have time before you leave, prepare your property as best you can by watering it down, clearing leaf litter and debris if possible, shore up important items, and then take your pets and family and leave quickly.
Make sure your neighbours are able to leave too. If they don’t have transport or are otherwise incapacitated you may need to help them or offer them a ride. If the fire gets too close, authorities may advise residents to shelter in place. Always have a battery-powered radio tuned to local public radio stations ready to listen to advice from authorities.
If you do make your decision to stay make sure you are mentally and physically prepared. Water down your home’s exterior and roof ahead of the fire, and make sure you have a water supply, pre-filled buckets, and a plan for how to respond if your property is engulfed.
If you’re out on your bike on a high-fire-risk day, take extra care to avoid sparking a fire. Don’t pull over onto long grass or weeds. Avoid riding in long, dry grass on hot, windy days, and always be vigilant of your surroundings.
In the event you are riding in an area under threat from fire, leave if possible. If not, find an area away from vegetation and fuel sources, turn your engine off, and turn your hazard lights (four-way flashers) on so you can be seen more easily. Call emergency services for assistance.
Fires are deadly, and frightening. The work done by the officers in this video is astounding, but please, please don’t try it at home.