Bushfire Recovery – Counting our blessings
I never thought I would ever say this but ‘The fire was the easy part’. I don’t know how many times I have said this since we got burnt out on 20th of December, 2019.
The night of the fire was a terrifying experience. We had chosen to stay and defend our home, we were the only ones on our road that did. We were incredibly fortunate to have about a dozen helpers arrive just in the nick of time. At 5pm we thought we were safe, the fire was heading in another direction. But by 7pm the wind had changed and before we knew it we were in the firing line. It had been an incredibly hot day, way over 40 degrees, in fact the entire week had been stinking hot. As the fire front approached us we were so lucky to have the aerial water bombers slow the fire front down. There were 4 lots of two drops but then as it got dark they had to land and we were left to fight it on the ground.
Farmer’s in their utes seemed to come out of nowhere. We didn’t even know who some of the people were until a couple of days after. We were blessed in so many ways and we have so many people to thank for helping us that night. We were totally surrounded by fires on all sides. After the fire jumped the road our crew then headed to save neighbours houses and sheds. What a night, it was nothing short of exhausting.
The next morning we awoke to some pretty terrible sights. We stood on our verandah and just cried. Our entire property was blackened. Stumps were still burning all over the property – they actually burnt for many weeks afterwards. The smell of burnt ground and trees was so incredibly strong. We had no power for 5 days, no landlines or internet for 14 weeks. We had lost all our organic pastures, all our freshly cut hay, all our fencing, all our waterlines and troughs. The whole lot was gone. BUT we had our house and sheds. We cannot fathom what it would have been like to loose everything as so many people did. If we had left the property we would have lost it all. Our decision to stay – would we do it again ? Absolutely we would. We would however be more prepared and I think you really can’t have an effective fire plan until you have lived through a fire.
The rebuilding of our property has taken nearly 15 months. Our lives seemed to attract numerous complications post fire. Fencing materials were in short supply because of the high demand. We had to fight our insurance company for loss of income, this took us nearly 6 months. We had a legal battle with a neighbour who was refusing to reinstate the boundary fence in the same manner that it was prior to the fire – it settled out of court 10 months after the fire. Covid hit and it’s numerous complications for small businesses. Health issues appeared for Wayne and he had several hospital visits. The list goes on.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger……………… That just couldn’t be truer. Here we are, armed with knowledge and experience that we didn’t have before. We have learnt new coping skills and we have learnt the closeness of a small community. We have received love and support from so many people. We are truly thankful. We survived and so did Carnevore’ !! It’s onwards and upward from here.