As almost everyone would have heard by now devastating fires have been sweeping through rural Victoria in the South-Easter part of mainland Australia. As always in late-summer other fires are also burning - but Victoria has borne the brunt this year.
Bushfires are something we live through every summer in this country. Some areas are always in danger and seem to have fires every year and others are mentioned intermittently.
This year the fires have been bigger and more devastating than they have ever been. We have a number of large fires that have historically been given names and are referred to for comparison - size, devastation, area This years fires will eventually be given a collective name that will be invoked to recall the emotion we feel now. However we are still living through it the best we can.
As members of large extended families (both myself and dh) it is rare indeed when one of the family members is not involved. We have had my mums cousin and family on alert in Victoria this week, they were luckier than most and were away from the biggest areas of concern.
As we always do Austalians have quickly organised Relief funds and collections to respond to these people in need. Corporations, Sporting teams and individuals have all been quick to rally to the cause. Blood banks have queues and are providing future appointments. The government (after a false-step or two) has ensured we are supporting these people who have lost everything.
The stories of horror and heroism continue. Many of the stories and pictures have bought me (and many others to tears). We sit here with our emotions swirling and are driven to do something, do whatever we can. The easiest, and most immediate is to give money to the Red Cross Appeal (http://www.redcross.org.au/default.asp), a few will co-ordinate an effort to drive more donations, such as this Serendipity here - (http://passionfruit.typepad.com/).
Spare a thought for those where the fire has passed but they can't move on yet as they are still waiting for news of family and loved ones or to be able to get in to see there properties and start rebuilding. This is going to take some time.
If you can spare anything please give to the Red Cross Appeal (if you need additional inspiriation (knitters) please check out Serendipity's blog above a donation can result in you winning a few prizes and take some time to hug the ones you love.