The last episode in the ABC’s latest tv series pays tribute to the role of community radio during the 2020 Summer bushfires.
Noni Hazlehurst plays a community radio announcer who has been on air for two days as the bushfires surround a seaside community and turn day into night as smoke obscures the sun.
In the show, Noni’s character struggles with the death of her husband but tells a young character at the radio station that she has now moved on from being angry and has turned her energy into something positive.
Like so many community radio presenters did during the 2020 bushfires, Halzehurst stays on air during the worst conditions to continue giving updates.
The episode was based on events portrayed in the CBAA’s From the Embers radio short series and podcast, which recently won two Bronze at the New York Radio Awards.
The CBAA is credited in the end titles of each episode of Fires for its assistance in the making of the series, and especially in this specific episode as it is very much based on From the Embers.
The From the Embers documentary series takes listeners to the very heart of nine communities affected by the bushfire crisis. The communities of the Adelaide Hills, Bairnsdale, Braidwood, Cooma, Kangaroo Island, Mallacoota, Mongarlowe, Moruya and Omeo all share their stories in the 9 podcast episodes.
- Episode 1, ‘Radio Saves the Day’, reveals just how important local radio can be for communities, delving into exactly what occurs if a transmitter burns down during a crisis.
- Episode 2, ‘Home and Housed’, looks at the millions of animals endangered by the bushfires and the people who tried to save them.
- Episode 3, ‘Mosquito Army’, explores just how far a community will go to protect their town.
- Episode 4, ‘The Fire and The Flood’, People move to Cooma for the landscape. But in the summer of 2019, danger was lurking in the hills around Cooma.
- Episode 5, ‘The Records, The Pets and The Knickers’, A fast-moving fire started in Cudlee Creek in the Adelaide Hills, forcing residents throughout the region to make critical decisions.
- Episode 6, ‘The Glowing Island’, Kangaroo Island is the oldest bee sanctuary in the world and home to one of the last disease-free koala populations in Australia. The island was scorched by fire from two lightning strikes.
- Episode 7, ‘Shelter at the Beach’, recounts New Years Day when day turned to night as bushfires descended on the coastal town of Mallacoota.
- Episode 8, ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’, What does a “properly defended” house look like?
- Episode 9, ‘Bird in the Sky’, The roads to Omeo were closed as fires surged towards the small East Gippsland town. As locals retreated Chinooks and Black Hawks offering an escape to some of the community.
View the ABC episode here and see the full series on ABC iView here.