Bushfire lookout – a story Ch 6 – Conclusion

He looked back at the school. No one played outside and he knew lunch was over. The sun shone brightly in spite of the wind.

Chapter Six

It was exactly at two thirty eight that afternoon that Bill Willoughby spotted smoke. He didn’t know it was exactly two thirty eight. That was only worked out later. I suspect that you might want to know how it was worked out. Patience!
I will tell you but all in good time but at the moment I think we have an emergency on our hands.
A real emergency.
Bill saw the smoke and didn’t know what to do. Bill’s father would know what to do. But Bill’s father was down in the little house a little way down the small track that leads from the tall tree that Bill was sitting on.
And Bill knew that now it didn’t matter if the teacher had rung earlier or not. Now Bill was in trouble. Bill needed help.
He took out the walkie-talkie set.
He switched it on and pressed the button on the side.

“Bill to Dad. Bill to Dad. Come in Dad. Urgent. Over.”
There was no reply.
“Bill to Dad. Bill to Dad. Come in Dad. Urgent. Over.”
Down in the little house Mr William Willoughby heard Bill’s call. He could tell from the sound of Bill’s voice that it was urgent. But Mr William Willoughby’s walkie-talkie set was in his bag hanging on a hook just inside the front door. And Mr William Willoughby was in bed with a badly sprained ankle.
“Bill to Dad. Bill to Dad. Please Dad. Come in. Urgent. Over.”
It took a few minutes for Mr William Willoughby to slide out of bed and crawl to the front door.
He was in a lot of pain but he stood on one leg and ripped open his bag.
“Dad to Bill. What’s wrong, Bill? Over”
“Dad, there’s a fire. I can see it. It’s just over the hill. Over.”
“Where are you? Over.’
“I’m up in the fire tree. Over.”
“I’m up in the fire tree. Over.”
“Dad, I’m sorry. Get cross with me later. What do I do now? I can see smoke just over the hill. Over.”
Now at this point Mr William Willoughby decided that being cross was not a good idea. He was an experienced fire watcher and he knew exactly what to do.
“Dad to Bill. Come in Bill. Over.”
“I’m here Dad. Over.”
“Good. Go to the compass and turn it so that you can see the smoke through the things like a gun sight. Over.”

(I’ll show what it looks like. It’s a bit like this but smaller. I’m sorry I haven’t got the same one as Bill’s father had.)

Bill went over to the compass. He turned it until he could see the smoke.
“I’ve done that. What next? Over.”
“Look down at the bottom you should see some numbers. Over.”
“Yes. Over.”
“What are the numbers? Over.”
“Three hundred and forty two. Over.”
“Now go over to the Radio. Turn the ON/OFF switch to ON. Over.”
“Done it. Over.”
“Press the call button just like you do on your walkie-talkie and say this. ‘BEM17, to Control. Come in Control. Over.’ When he answers say this. ‘BEM17 to Control. Smoke at 342. Smoke at 342. Over”
Bill pressed the call button.
“BEM17 to Control. Smoke at 342. Smoke at 342.Over”
“Control to BEM17. Repeat message. Over.”
“Mr Control, this is Bill Willoughby and my dad is sick and I’m up in the tree and I can see smoke and there’s a fire and what do I do now? Over.”
“Slow down little Bill. What was the number you saw in the scope? Over.”
“Three hundred and forty two. It’s just over the hill in the next valley up on the side of the ridge. Over.”

“Thanks little Bill. Now get down out of the tree and we’ll look after things from here. You have done a very good job. Well done. Over and out.”

“Dad to Bill. Come in Bill. Over.”
“I’m here Dad. Over.”
“Did you do it, son? Over.”

“Yes Dad. He said I have to come down now. Over.”
“That’s a good idea Bill. Come down. Over and out.”
Bill went to the trap door and opened it. He looked down and froze stiff. He couldn’t move. It was so far down and he was more frightened that he had been all day. He could not move.
“I can’t Dad. I can’t climb down. It’s too far. Over.”
“Then close the trap door and wait. I’ll think of something. Out.”
Mr William Willoughby put down the walkie-talkie and picked up the phone. He rang down to the school and spoke to the school teacher. About ten minutes later the teacher’s car came up the little track to the little house. The teacher ran into the house and spoke to Bill’s dad.

It seemed to Bill that it was a very long time but very soon in real time Bill’s teacher was climbing the one hundred and twenty seven steps to the very top of the tree and Bill was safe.
Now, I won’t tell you what Bill’s dad did or said about Bill disobeying him and climbing up to to top like he did.

I will tell you that everyone was very proud of Bill. His mother did cry a bit.
But that is the story of how Bill saved the forest from fire and especially how he saved his animals.

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