40th anniversary of Ash Wednesday

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A state-based commemoration is being held on Sunday 12 February 2023 at the Ash Wednesday Bushfire Education Centre (AWBEC) in McBride Street, Cockatoo.


16 February 2023 will mark the 40th anniversary of Ash Wednesday, one of the most significant bushfire events in Australian history. It claimed the lives of 47 Victorians.

More than 180 fires occurred on that day across several towns and communities in regions across the state. More than 16,000 firefighters and other personnel were involved in the response.

The AWBEC provides an overview of the eight major fires on the day and was chosen as the site for the commemoration following consultation with past and present members who fought the 1983 fires.

A link to the commemoration service will be available on our website for people who are unable to attend as well as those who wish to observe from afar.

Anniversaries of significant events such as the Ash Wednesday fires can bring up difficult memories and feelings including sadness, fear and grief. 

In the weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday, and in the days after, if you find yourself experiencing strong emotions, we recommend that you contact Lifeline on 131114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 which offer support services nationwide.

CFA members and their families can contact the CFA Wellbeing Support Line for free, confidential 24/7 access to psychologists, counsellors, peers and chaplains.


Submitted by Lerna Avakian