chapter  3
Wildfi re and Dilemmas of Everyday Life
Pages 24

As an amenity migrant, married into a rural family, a mother of two, and with a full-time job as a public servant, Nicola is unequivocal in her reasons for having neither the time nor energy to actively engage with her local bushfi re brigade:

Certainly in terms of volunteering to do things, it’s really diffi cult when you work full-time and for me it’s the hours, there’s no way! I can’t even go to a CWA meeting. You know, they’re just not designed for commuting working mummies. (♀ NSW Feb. 2009)1

Nicola’s frustration is as applicable to ‘commuting working daddies’ and men as it is to working mothers and women. Her turn of phrase, however, is symbolic of the ways in which the gendered dimensions of wildfi re were fi rst brought to my attention through the stories of women. Daughters, sisters, mothers, and grandmothers alike expressed a heightened level of concern for the safety of themselves and their families if a wildfi re should threaten. The need to care for children, elderly relatives, disabled people, and other loved ones, including animals, instinctively guided the expressed thoughts of women, their daily lives, and their intended actions in the context of wildfi re.