Author Andrew Einspruch on the bushfires

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.



New episode + a message about Australia

Update (2/5/20): The message from author Andrew Einspruch can now be found here.

It’s happened!  I’ve crowbarred another episode into January before it ends.  Episode 2.2 is here.

It’s been exceedingly hard to get work on Princess Disasterface done this month.  Like a lot of people, I get migraines when the weather is up and down like this.  And it has been a VERY odd January.  I find myself celebrating each time the ground freezes (very unlike me) because I don’t have to wipe mud off my four-legged friend’s paws for once.

Switching tacks to something more serious now:

One of the things I have been doing, besides trying to create new comic and website content (and editing, writing, and more editing…), is making another special episode of Princess Disasterface.  I was inspired by what I think is an extraordinary email from the mailing list of Australian author Andrew Einspruch, whose house survived the bushfires, but with some damage to the animal sanctuary he co-runs (the people and animals are all safe).  I hope to be able to share the email with you all with permission, but either way I’ll try to pass on the heart of his message and draw attention through Princess Disasterface-humor.  I do believe that humor is be a good way to help serious messages reach others, especially when so many problems and tragedies need our attention and can overwhelm us.  All I can do is try!

In the meantime, USAToday has an article from earlier this month with lots of places to donate that benefit humans (including the families of fallen firefighters), and animals (including places that have formed campaigns to replant affected areas).  As for Einspruch’s email, The Deep Peace Trust Sanctuary has a fundraising campaign here, and he also suggests BlazeAid.

The heart of Einspruch’s message, by the way, is that if you can’t donate, pass it on so that it may reach others who can.

Cheers to you all,