We all know about the bushfires in Australia. Like everyone, I’ve seen lots of footage, photos and articles and heard the awful statistics, but something about the following firsthand account of the people and animals who were “very, very lucky” and yet “could see flames in every direction” has changed my understanding of just what the bushfires mean. If you feel about it the way that I did, maybe it will give you a little hope, too.
This account is from a newsletter sent by author Andrew Einspruch on his personal experience with the bushfires, and is re-posted with his kind permission:
Hello fellow human!
I hope this finds you well. It’s been a while. For some of you, this is your first email from me. (Hello! Welcome! This one isn’t typical!)
This newsletter doesn’t have my usual format. I just wanted to touch base and let you know what’s been going on. I’m hoping to resume my regular newsletters next week.
To be honest, my head hasn’t been in a writing space for the past couple of months. We had the bushfires come through the sanctuary at the end of November, and I’ve been exhausted and preoccupied ever since. The bad news is pretty much all of our bush burned. We lost our holding yards and had about 4.5 km of fencing damaged. The good news is that humans, sanctuary animals, house, and sheds were all OK. We were very, very lucky, and thank goodness, we’re here to tell the tale. Even so, for days after the fire came through, I could see flames in every direction. For weeks, it was the same with smoke plumes. As recently as last week, I wore a mask while outside due to smoke blanketing the land. We’ve had a flash flood which washed ash into the water sources. Yesterday, we had a dust storm.
It’s been full on.
My wife Billie wrote about what it was like at the beginning of December in a post called Living with the Fires. Pretty harrowing reading.
And there have been so many people and animals affected and so, so much suffering. Heartbreaking. That estimated 1 billion animal lives lost is simply staggering and saddens me incredibly. As I write, the burn area across the country is about the size of Kentucky. Mind boggling.
Still, we’re doing what we can do. I helped organise a group called BlazeAid to come to our district. Their volunteers go out to fire-affected properties and rebuild fences. As of yesterday, their list was up to 86 places asking for help. And that’s just in our district alone.
Closer to home, we have created a number of wildlife feeding stations on our place, and are putting out hay, feed pellets, and fresh fruit and veg every day. Billie reckons we’re supporting at least 100 roos, wallabies, and wombats. You can see some pics of them on the our Instagram.
Our charity, the Deep Peace Trust, has been running a fundraising campaign on Chuffed called Surviving Summer: Bushifre and Drought Appeal. It’s to help with the sanctuary’s drought and bushfire recovery. Perhaps you’ll do me the kindness of considering a donation, and even if you can’t, I’d be incredibly grateful if you could please share the campaign. We really do need support right now. Thanks for that.
So, that’s why it’s been quiet at my end.
Thanks for reading. Next time, it’ll be back to more writerly things.
Talk to you soon.