A schoolboy has survived a fierce bushfire by driving through paddocks as the blaze raged around him in the rural Western Australian town of Mogumber.
The Sturrock family had a bushfire action plan and put it to use when the blaze ripped through nearly 8000 hectares around their home.
Ivan and his eldest son, Dale, went to fight the fire while 12-year-old Lucas retreated with the family dog.
Lucas followed the plan, but he was soon faced with two fire fronts. In a split-second decision, he chose to drive further away to find a main road.
“The fire jumped into the house paddock and then once it got into there, Lucas was told to go down to the Orange tree which was about three or four kilometres away but when he got there and stayed there for 10 minutes there was a fire on the other side of the road,” his father Ivan said.
His family went to find him but he wasn’t there, so they immediately raised the alarm with firefighters and police on the ground.
“It was very chaotic lots of smoke lots of fire,” Volunteer firefighter Craig Spencer said.
“It was good he (Ivan) came and found us as well to let us know because of the advantage of the radio network we got onto all of the networks, so everyone knew to keep an eye out for him.”
Within an hour firefighters managed to track Lucas down after they found the manual vehicle parked on a main road away from the fire.
“It was a pretty scare environment, visibility was low, the flames were high.”
“Where he was parked up was a good position to be in but 10 minutes after that, that road was under direct attack.”
The volunteer firefighters took Lucas to the Police blockade where he was later reunited with his family.
“He did a good job he could drive a manual better than me, I haven’t driven a manual for 12 years so he’s a smart kid,” Firefighter Spencer said.
“Know your escape routes, know your plan, know where to get to for safety and know how to contact each other so that everybody can check in to know that you’re safe,” Dallwallinu Police Sgt Mike Daley said.
While his brother and father are thankful for the joint effort by emergency services to find him.
“There were a few years yeah, it was very emotionally, it was just one big relief,” Ivan said.