A PERSONAL impression of the massive Mt Lubra fire in the Grampians in January 2006 features in a new book to be launched tomorrow.
Wartook writer Francoise van der Plank said she wrote it while trying to defend the family's house from the flames.
She tells of the first spots of ash 'floating down like small white feathers, gracefully and lightly', then the fire front jumping control lines and burning down the Assess Ears, the CFA tearing through with lights and sirens going at full blast, a 'scrambled dream' of days and nights in a neighbour's safer place, the nights of broken sleep and the cups of tea 'from morning till night till morning again'.
She said the account was based on reality but she changed the ending to make it more positive.
The new ending met with immediate success when Margaret River Press accepted the story for publication in 'Fire a collection of stories, poems and visual images'.
Chairman of the Bushfire Royal Commission Bernard Teague will launch the book at Eltham tomorrow night.
Twenty-seven award-winning writers, artists and poets from across Australia contributed to the book.
Their pieces were selected from more than 300 submissions to the editors.
They include a commissioned work by award-winning poet Paul Hetherington, work by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, poetry by Western Australian Premier's Award winner Miriam Wei Wei Lo, stunning photographs by Sean Blocksidge and others, and a commissioned story by Aboriginal playwright David Milroy.
The anthology includes moving oral histories, real and contemporary. One riveting account captures the tension experienced by a couple divided over whether to stay and defend their home or flee the flames.
Part of the profits from the book will go to volunteer fire associations.
Recommended retail price is $28 and it is available from Margaret River Press and possibly through Horsham Library and Redrock Books and Gallery in Horsham.