'I had no idea': The tiny detail on our roads saving lives amid bushfire crisis

·Associate News Editor

As the bushfire crisis rages on, residents across Australia’s southeast are trying to help exhausted firefighters in any way they can.

While Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews revealed the state no longer had the capacity to accept food and clothing donations for those affected due to an overwhelming response from donors, others have been preparing areas close to blazes for when firefighters arrive.

Taking to Facebook, Fiona Okeson in the coastal village of Tuross Head, 30km east of the 200,000-hectare Badja Forest Road fire, revealed she’d been locating blue reflectors in the road and making sure all nearby fire hydrants were visible if firefighters were called in.

A blue reflector in a Tuross Head road with a yellow arrow indicating a fire hydrant.
Blue reflectors in the road indicate where fire hydrants are. Source: Facebook

According to Victoria’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade, “all hydrants are to be identified by blue reflective material, including the hydrant cover, cats eyes and post reflectors, to ensure that the hydrant can be identified at night.”

Ms Okeson urged others to follow suit and ensure all hydrants near their homes were free of foliage and visible to firefighters, especially in the dark.

“Why don’t you take 10 mins to check out your local hydrant and help out your local fire brigade?” she asked, noting many people may not know the purpose of the blue reflectors.

Before and after photos of a hydrant cleaned up in Tuross Head. Source: Facebook
Before and after photos of a hydrant cleaned up in Tuross Head. Source: Facebook

She revealed she’d cleared up to 50 hydrants in her area.

She shared a video of one hydrant which was covered by grass and at first glance, completely hidden.

Dozens of people thanked Ms Okeson for her post, many revealing they were unaware of the blue reflectors’ purpose.

“I had no idea,” one person said.

On Saturday Fire and Rescue NSW once again issued their appeal to residents to help out fire crews with “worsening conditions” ahead.

“Clear the area around hydrants of any grass, vegetation, gardens, rubbish and dirt,” they asked.

They also said it was essential no vehicles were covering hydrants.

“Our fire trucks only carry enough water to make an initial fire attack, so locating and getting a hydrant to work is one of a Firefighters’ priorities,” they said.

Earlier in the bushfire season residents with pools were also asked to leave a sign with the letters ‘SWS’ on their letterbox to inform firefighters of nearby water supplies.

Fire threat remains strong for NSW, Victoria

While Monday saw rain in some parts of NSW and Victoria and the reduction in emergency warnings, authorities warn the immediate danger present to communities in fire-affected areas is still present.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the ongoing threat “was uncharted territory” with hundreds of homes feared lost across southern NSW.

The joining of two giant fires at the NSW-Victoria border is expected on Monday, creating a fire spanning half a million hectares.

Several towns including Batlow, Corryong and Tintaldra have been decimated by the fire with hundreds of homes expected to have been lost.

"We are getting reports that the property losses, the damage and destruction, is likely to be numbering in the hundreds as a result of yesterday's fire activity and fire spread,” NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said on Sunday.

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