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The Day the Flames Came: Dwellingup 1961

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Published on Jan 23, 2018

On Tuesday 24 January 1961 disaster struck Dwellingup, a Forestry Department stronghold, deep in the jarrah forests 110km south of Perth.

The most intense bushfires in recorded history destroyed the town in a matter of hours, devastating a community and shaking the self-belief of some of the toughest foresters and firefighters in the business.

This film follows the story of three men who fought to save their wives and children on that terrible night as the flames bore down.

And two mothers: one caught on the road in the back of a ute with her children fleeing from the destruction; the other, trapped outside her town by fate and a charitable deed, asks for news of her husband and friends and is told that no one survived.

The Dwellingup fire was a watershed in the way authorities manage fires and the critical lessons learned continue to have relevance today.

This film was developed in 2006 by the Department of Conservation and Land Management and the Fire & Emergency Services Authority in WA, with the assistance of the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre.

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