Skip to main content
Forums Home

New to the

Life After Bushfires Forum?

Chat to people

who have been through it

Register To Connect

Have an account?
Login

cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Life After Bushfires

Community Manager

Rebuilding after the fires // share your story

Screen Shot 2020-10-28 at 11.54.03 am.png

 

The bushfires have caused emotional distress for many Australians. Some people may experience the emotional pain for a few weeks or months. Some may struggle to manage a little longer.

This is a safe space to share your story whilst honouring your journey within bushfires and mental health recovery.

 

We’re here to listen and support you.

Along the way, you may even pick up some tips or strategies to help manage ongoing trauma.

First time here? Please read our community guidelines about how to post safely.

30 REPLIES 30

Re: Rebuilding after the fires // share your story

If anyone is keen to share here is a really safe space to do so Heart @outlander you are most welcome to post here or start your own my friend. 

Re: Rebuilding after the fires // share your story

@BPDSurvivor, only if you feel safe to share your story 

Re: Rebuilding after the fires // share your story

Hi everyone,

 

Thank you @nashy a for your dedication in setting up these threads.

 

I have personally witnessed several bushfires in my life:

1990s bushfires affecting much of NSW - As a child, I could see the smoke and flames so close to my house. I didn't know whether my house would be there the next day.

2001 black Christmas bushfires

2009 Black Saturday - the Melbourne streets were scorching as thick smog covered the city. In Marysville, I walked through the bush and found charcoaled beetles and other animals which had no chance of surviving. I watched as people returned to their properties to tend to their gardens. There was no house left, but they faithfully watered thier planted flowers in the aftermath of the fires. I also visited the local towns where school children had to travel to because their schools had burnt down. 
2013 NSW bushfires - I was driving from Vic to NSW. Suddenly, the fires ripped through the streets in front of me. The heat was intense. After making it through, we were stopped on Hume Freeway for 3 hrs as the blazes continued in front of us. Cars lined up for kilometres and kilometres as fire crew worked to control the blaze. We couldn't turn back. Our tyres were melting into the tar on the road. We were all stuck. 

The way the community pulled together each time was phenomenal. 

 

BPDSurvivor

 

 

Re: Rebuilding after the fires // share your story

Thank you for sharing this @BPDSurvivor incredibly profound experience to go through. The mention of the poor wee animals made my heart sink. It's important to hold ourselves in these moments. The grief we feel for the communities and animals, that is a form of love.

 

What was the community focus? How was that experience of banding together? Heart

Re: Rebuilding after the fires // share your story

DSC03149.jpgDSC03135.jpg

IMG_0526.jpg

 

These photos were taken one year after the 2009 Victorian bushfires. I have others I want to add, but I will need to compress them first due to the size of the files. Top photo is a burnt beetle I picked up after the fires.

Re: Rebuilding after the fires // share your story

*****content warning: this is part of my story in the Black Summer bushfires. I'm putting this here to protect anyone that may not want to read particularly emotional stories. I don't want to flare anyone's trauma. But this is my story.*****

*

*

Before the Black Summer bushfires, I had never really thought about bushfires before.

I lived in Sydney growing up, and I remember some near-ish to us then, but I was never impacted until last year when I visited my mum on the NSW south coast.

I remember driving through such thick smoke on the way, but nothing showed on the aps. Turns out, they were the beginning of the Cann River fires.

We evacuated from our house early New Year's Eve 2019. I remember seeing the orange smoke loomng much-too-close, burning leaves falling from the sky, and hundreds of birds flying away. There was no power or reception, so I had no idea if my friends and loved ones were alive, including mum for a few hours when we were separated. At the evacuation centre, spot fires were igniting all around us. And then the sky went this deep, blackish red. My sister called to tell me she was trapped in town with my godchildren who were crying. I think hearing them tell me they're scared--and me having to tell them it would be okay--is the hardest thing I've ever experienced.

I am so lucky none of my family lost their homes or lives. But people I went to school with did. A person, only four years older than me, died. My close friends also lost homes and woke up to everything they've ever known burning. Seeing photos and videos from back then is so hard. And I've spoken to so many people who were so close to losing their lives.

It's a lot of trauma.

Our poor, poor communities. But something else I also saw was kindness. Bravery. Love. Strength. I saw people feeding and housing almost thousands of others free of charge. Chemists opening their doors to help their customers with their medication, while their houses were burning. Firefighters who saved others, even after they too had lost everything. And one woman who just went around simply giving people hugs as people cried into her. We saw so much trauma: but so much beauty and strength too.

That's what I hold on to.

Re: Rebuilding after the fires // share your story


@nashy wrote:

 

What was the community focus? How was that experience of banding together? Heart

 

 


Community focus was about holding each other up to rebuild and move forward. Soo many shops were burnt down during the fires, yet shop owners and the community worked to support each other to clean up in the aftermath, open their doors using tents and marquees, rebuild, then re-open. This was about celebrating their journey of resilience particularly going through the grief process. Shops celebrate this by displaying dates of significance outside their shop, along with messages of hope from the community and photos showing the journey. 

Due to forum guidelines, I am not able to share these photos, but it is something that brings tears to the community. Life is about moving forward despite the losses, and we can in turn celebrate the journey of recovery.

 

BPDSurvivor

Re: Rebuilding after the fires // share your story

Sending you lots of tender, understanding hugs  @BPDSurvivor , @nashy , @YouAreNotAlone , @outlander , @frog HeartHeartHeart

I have been in a few big cyclones but never a bush fire like @eth  has been too 

It is hard through any disaster  xoxo 

Re: Rebuilding after the fires // share your story

Thank you @BPDSurvivor @YouAreNotAlone @Shaz51 for your stories.

I can relate. My experience started New Years Eve, South Coast of NSW and went on for months.

I still drive through some very burnt out country and communities often.

It's so etched into my memory in a visceral way... the smells and sounds and sights and heat all come back to me unexpectedly. I read that sometimes the body holds these memories when the mind cannot.

More than anything my heart aches for the animals.

New to the

Life After Bushfires Forum?

Chat to people

who have been through it

Register To Connect

Have an account?
Login

For urgent assistance:

Life After Bushfire Resources: