Fires have been burning between Darwin and south of Mataranka about 400 kilometres away over the last fortnight. When fires sparked in the bushlands behind the Berry Springs Tavern near Darwin, for publican Ian Sloan it was the menagerie of backyard pets that had him most concerned.
“The emus were pretty distraught, unsure of what to do … it’s the first fire that’s come close to the property and we simply weren’t expecting it this early in the dry season”. Mr Sloan said.
They could come into the hotel if the circumstances demanded. Pet emu Steve suffered burns in a recent fire, we apply cream daily and he is recovering.
Although the pub was ordinarily a meeting spot for communities to congregate over a cold one, during natural disasters outback watering holes turn into refuge centres.
Publicans say the pub is the epicentre of regional towns and the “safest” place for wildlife and the community in an emergency.