An unexpected find by firefighters during a routine backburn has sparked a wave of much-needed comic relief as the country prepares for another fire season.
Officers from the Tuggerah Rural Fire Brigade, based on the NSW Central Coast, were conducting a hazard reduction burn in Tuggerah on Friday when they encountered an alarming sight.
Seeming to emerge from a hole in the smouldering ground, firefighters spotted an angry looking panther statue.
The animal’s expression combined with its fiery backdrop was enough to give officers “quite the shock”, according to a post the fire service made to its Facebook page on the weekend.
The crew posted a message addressed to the person responsible for unusual scene, joking that they were less than impressed by the stitch up, channeling their inner Scott Morrison.
“To the person who left this statue in dense bushland, giving us quite the shock during today’s Hazard Reduction at Tuggerah, we have a message: Stop it. It’s not sensible. It’s not helpful. Thats not who we are. It’s un-Australian and it must stop,” the post read.
After gaining a huge amount of traction on social media, the fire service sought to clear up the true meaning of their initial message.
In an update to the post, they explained they had loaned a speech made by the Prime Minister who delivered a terse dressing down to the public in response to panic buying early in the coronavirus.
“It seems this post became much more popular than we expected. To clarify, yes it did happen yesterday [Friday] but we believe the panther was discarded in the bushland a long time ago,” the update read.
“We found the situation quite amusing and thought to share it with our local community in a comical manner, taking poetic licence from the now famous ‘stop hoarding’ speech.
“In the future we will stick to fire-fighting and leave the satire to the experts (probably).”
Facebook users seemed equally as amused by the rogue discovery, expressing in comments they thought it was hilarious.
“Don’t just stick to firefighting...this is gold,” one person wrote.
“Its un-Australia to not find this funny,” another said.
The 2019/2020 bushfire season was one of the worst in the country’s history, killing 34 people and charring more than 18 million hectares of land.
This year's season isn't expected to cause the same level of destruction, however conditions are already seeing some places on high alert as fire crews have begun extensive hazard reduction burns in NSW.
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