The texts had reassured us all, anxiously listening for news of our friends’ latest bushfire threat. They dealt with one in February (the height of Summer fire season here in Australia), but this danger so early in Spring was scary…
As I began to tell in Part One, I’m just back from helping with a tiny part of the massive clean-up: they battled all night to save their home, while thousands of acres burnt around them.
Like, literally up to the verandah. I took this photo standing on their front deck:
As you saw in Part One, destroyed sheds and landscape made for eerie surroundings.
Plus the silence.
Until the loud revving of a loaded truck, as an unknown farmer, his wife, and three kids from half an hour away arrived with a load of donated hay.
His wife had even baked a chocolate cake.
Just writing that down makes me cry; we were all fighting back tears as the team gathered to unload the hay and roll it into the [miraculously-saved] shed.
This tough little community doesn’t need second hand clothes or children’s toys. They need the practical: hay to feed the starving cattle, water to quench their thirst (cattle/humans/dogs, in that order), and money for fencing.
Kilometres and kilometres of fencing need to be replaced. Cattle are wandering loose, as well as horses. Farmers are feeding whatever stock they can find, whether they belong to them or not. Dams are low, creeks are drying up, and everywhere is ash-covered.
My friend considers herself lucky that she’s the only one in the small valley who hasn’t had to shoot some of her cattle.
A neighbour lost his 10 house cows; kangaroos have keeled over with shock and stress so need to be buried.
It’s a shock to really see the damage, and the true challenge of recovery.
So much wildlife habitat lost: old nesting trees burnt through, while shrubs and ground covers perfect for sheltering small birds have also gone. Bees and butterflies- where do they hide from an inferno? Even the tops of trees were alight, with air so hot and black my friends burnt the inside of their lungs and throat, lying flat on the ground while the fire front passed over them.
It was so hot that glass and aluminium melted, while fencing wire just snapped. But that’s also a good thing, as it meant cattle could flee from the fire front.
What can we do to help? Frankly, the whole community just needs money. Money to buy tools and fencing wire, metal posts and chainsaws. Money towards replacement tractors, diesel, and hay. Lots and lots of hay.
There are two options: BlazeAid (a volunteer-based organisation that works with families & individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters such as fires & floods) or the specific Ewingar community fundraiser on Facebook, just search for the Ewingar Bushfire Emergency Fund (stoopid Facebook won’t let me attach the direct link).
Thank you so much.
In eternal gratitude for water, and community, G xO