12yo drives family car to escape bushfire
A 12-year-old boy has been reunited with his family after he was forced to use his older brother's ute to flee bushfires.
Lucas Sturrock had been at his family's property in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia when he spotted a bushfire coming dangerously close.
His dad Ivan and older brother Dale had left him at their family property to go and help control the blaze - which was at an emergency warning level on Sunday afternoon.
The Mogumber fire has already burnt through close to 8,000 hectares and is still at a watch and act level.
"I said to my son (Lucas) if (the fire) gets into the big paddock, go down to the orange tree that's about 3 or 4 kilometres away," Mr Sturrock told the ABC.
With the Help of DFES, Dalwallinu Officer S/C SMITH saved this 12 year old who was driving across paddocks to escape the fire 🔥 in Mogumber. He has been reunited with family and is safe and well #fb pic.twitter.com/zyrYCFgwSM— Dalwallinu Police (@DalwallinuPol) 15 December 2019
When Lucas saw the fire approaching, he grabbed the family's dog and jumped in his brother's ute to flee.
Mr Sturrock said Lucas had been taught to drive at the age of seven, "in case things like this do happen".
But as he was drove towards the orange tree, Lucas saw it was on fire and decided to turn down a different road.
When Mr Sturrock and Dale arrived at the orange tree, Lucas was gone and the tree was burnt.
The father and son quickly called other firefighters, who radioed around to other bushfire brigades.
"We obviously radioed in to all other units to let them know and then we all started to do a bit of a search to see if we could find him," Bindoon Bushfire Brigade member Craig Spencer told the ABC.
"We were lucky that not long after, about an hour after, we were patrolling the northern flank and came across Lucas pulled up in his ute. He was a very scared young fella."
The firefighters drove Lucas out of the fireground and gave him to police, where he was reunited with his family.
"We taught him to drive since he was about seven just in case things like this do happen and I was quite proud of him, he did exactly what we told him to do," Mr Sturrock said.
"When I got to him he was a bit upset and relieved."
Meanwhile , firefighters are taking advantage of easing conditions in NSW before a record-breaking heatwave grips the state.
But across the other side of the continent, exhausted fireys in Western Australia have now been in the middle of a bushfire emergency for a week.