"To lose two generations is a wound that never heals,” shared Joan Davey, whose son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren died in the “Black Saturday” bushfires that raced through the Australian state of Victoria on February 7, 2009.
On the anniversary of these fires, the Australian Broadcasting Service (ABC) is running a series of articles that share the stories of loss, recovery, and future planning from what became the worst bushfire in Australian history.
When the fires finally subsided, 173 people had lost their lives, with over 5,000 more sustaining injuries. The fires destroyed 2029 homes and scorched over 1737 square miles of developed and agricultural lands.
In part-one of what will be an eight-part series, ABC’s Joan Cowan shares how Joan and Leon Davey cope with the loss of their son Rob, daughter-in-law Natasha, and grandchildren Jorja and Alexis. Video interviews with both Joan and Leon in the article provide a strong prospective on what such a loss means to a family.
Part-two explores concerns around current weather data, persistent drought, and the public’s perception to fire ecology on the land and prescribed burning. Related to this, the upcoming March edition of WildfireWatch column in the NFPA Journal will focus on this same issue of fire ecology and our forests in relation to the recent wildfires that brought tragedy to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
The series will continue over the next few days on the ABC website and you can easily find links to the eight-part series, as they are released, at the bottom of each article.
Events like these remind us that wildfire is a global issue and one that shares both common lessons and actions for residents, wherever they live.
Photo Credit: Cowan, Jane. Australian Broadcasting Service (ABC). Life after Black Saturday: 'To lose two generations is a wound that never heals'. UPDATED WED FEB 08 12:49:45 EST 2017. Pulled 10 February 2017.