Summary

Interview with Christine May by Liza Dale-Hallett at her home in Haven on 23 July 2009.

Christine May owns a small sheep farm of 20 hectares (50 acres) with her husband Neil, and is actively involved in a range of community organisations with over 30 years involvement as a CFA Volunteer. On Black Saturday, Saturday, 7th February, 2009, Christine and Neil chose to stay and defend their well-prepared property which was in direct line of the Remlaw Fire. With the wall of fire only 200 metres from their property's northern boundary, the fire head was doused as it approached a narrow metal road by two CFA Water Bomber Fixed-Wing planes closely followed by a wind change from the south. The following evening, Sunday 10th February, 2009, Christine was involved as the overnight shift Operations Officer in the Incident Management Team at the Incident Control Centre which required management and support of fire suppression and blacking-out operations by the numerous tankers working within in the fire zone.

This interview is part of the Victorian Bushfires Collection.

Description of Content

This interview includes descriptions of Christine's previous fire experiences, her involvement in community organisations, the involvement of women in the CFA, changes in fire technologies, climate change, the stealing of 12,500 litres of water from her tanks days before Black Saturday, prelude to Black Saturday, heat stress on birds, fire plan for her property, activities on the day of Black Saturday, road blocks, the management of the Incident Control Team, inundation of numerous phone calls and messages from all over the world, impact of the fires on the local community.

Significance

This interview covers the role of rural women in CFA and community organisations, in particular the experience of Christine May defending her property in the face of the fire front on Black Saturday.

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