Photo of koala fleeing fire looks like watercolour painting
THE photo of a koala climbing a gum tree to flee the Border Trail fires near Woodenbong doesn't look real. It's more a Hans Heysen painting than a photograph.
The muted pastel colours and the dreamy quality of the image is the way German-born Australian artist Heysen used watercolours to depict gum trees.
Bonalbo fire captain John Tart snapped the photo on Tuesday when the fire crew were working at the Border Trail.
"The koala was about six metres up the tree and there was a fire at the base of the tree," Mr Tart said.
"There was a lot of un-burnt fuel around which would have made it nasty for him, so we knocked down the flames and cooled the tree then used a slow burn to get rid of the rest of the fuel."
There was a fire burning 20 metres away from the koala.
"It wasn't long after the photo was taken that the wind came up and spotted the fire past our control lines towards the Mt Lindsay Rd," Mr Tart said.
The photo was taken on Mr Tart's phone and when he zoomed in on the koala, the watercolour effect just happened, maybe because of the colours of the surrounding fire.
Mr Tart has had to leave the fire front to attend his nephew's wedding at Magnetic Island.
"It's strange but I feel bad having come up here and leaving my RFS mates in Woodenbong to fight the fire," Mr Tart said.
"There's a real bond that develops between brigades that fight fire together.
"The brigades in the Upper Clarence have a special bond because we are more remote from those east of the range and rely on the support of one another."