In the words of Roger Franklin, fire can be "a curious, wonderful thing". On February 7, 2009, however, there was nothing wonderful about the flames that engulfed Victoria, killing 173 people and reducing several towns to dust.
Franklin's book, INFERNO: THE DAY VICTORIA BURNED, is the first to explore the horrors of the day that will forever be known as Black Saturday. Not only does the author explain what happened that day - individual heroism, unimaginable tragedy, tales of towns all but wiped off the map - but also why it happened.
The author examines the roles of the Victorian government, the CFA and the local councils that were so determined to protect roadside vegetation. He analyses the pros and cons of preventive burning, questions the merits of the state's controversial stay-or-go policy, and delves into the mind of an arsonist.
Through it all, there is a clear message: failure was everywhere on Black Saturday. With bushfires a constant threat in Australian life, Franklin cites many important lessons that need to be learned if such a disaster is to be avoided in the future.