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A lucky escape
Monday 5 February 2018 – 5:00 PM

​Bushwalker Everard Curchin is lucky to be alive after he was caught walking through bushland near Mundaring, in the path of a massive bushfire. 

The fire, believed to have started on Gorrie Road Sawyers Valley at approximately 8.30am on Sunday January 14, was burning uncontained and out of control.

Just after midday firefighters in a Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) air intelligence helicopter spotted someone at the Helena Valley campsite and radioed to an Air Attack helitak who was able to land in a nearby cleared area.

DFES Station Officer Rohan Aird who was in the helitak had to get his bearings once the aircraft was on the ground, before he set out on foot to find Mr Curchin.

“When we landed I had to work out which direction I needed to head in and the terrain was pretty rough and the bush was dense. In the vision it looks like I’m walking slowly but I had to move fairly quickly as the fire front was just 30 metres from us,” he said.

“When I found him I said ‘we have to go now’, there wasn’t the opportunity to talk after that.”

Mr Curchin was planning to shelter in a wooden hut, which burnt down roughly 20 minutes after he was rescued.

“He was very lucky we spotted him,” Rohan said.

The helitak then landed on a nearby track to deposit Mr Curchin, where he was picked up by Parks and Wildlife Service staff, before the air attack crew re-joined the firefighting effort.

The Parks and Wildlife Service, Western Australia recommends the following if you are planning a bushwalk:

  • tell someone your plans and route 
  • check the weather forecast before departing 
  • monitor your surroundings and 
  • have a bushfire survival plan in place.

Before embarking on activities in or near bushland ensure you check www.emergency.wa.gov.au​ for the latest bushfire information.

To view video of the rescue head to the DFES Facebook page.