The photograph of the Holmes family hiding from a violent bushfire in Tasmania was shared around the world. But what became of them? In a unique multimedia project, the family speak exclusively to the Guardian about the day their community was devastated, and the new breed of bushfire that is impossible to fight.
On the morning of 4 January 2013, the people of Dunalley had watched with caution as a bush fire burned slowly on top of the hill. It was not an unusual occurrence – fires are a part of Australian life – and Dunalley had never been troubled before. They made their preparations, just in case. Even so, they had no idea what was about to hit them.
In the aftermath of the Inala Road fire, Jon Henley and Laurence Topham visited Dunalley. They spoke to the families there, shot video of the devastation and photographed the beautiful but deadly landscape. Minute by minute, they reconstructed what had happened – the residents, the emergency services … the moment the flames struck the first houses.
Firestorm explores what it means to live in a natural environment that has evolved to burn. Meteorologists and firefighters alike fear the growing ferocity of the fires it produces as Australia’s summers grow ever hotter. Scientific facts suggests that the Inala Road fire may have been just a hint of what is to come.
An hour-long drama of text and video, Firestorm combines the account of the day with photography and six exclusive films to create a rich, beautiful reading experience for your tablet or mobile device. Firestorm is the story of the terrifying fire, and of the remarkable and resilient character of its inhabitants as they seek to raise their homes from the ashes.
But most of all, it is the story of the family under the jetty, clinging on as Dunalley burned.
An interesting presentation, and possibly a new version of the printed narrative story, the Guardian team have drawn together a superb account of the experiences of the families affected by this devastation, the images are both intimate, personal and still show a landscape of scale...