The memories of those impacted by the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires have been put to paper, in a new book that tells the first-hand stories of Victorians who experienced one of Australia’s largest and most damaging fire seasons.
The book, Our Black Summer, was funded to help impacted CFA volunteers and community members reflect on the devastating fires of three years ago and heal together. The book is part of the recovery process for CFA volunteers, by sharing their experiences.
The 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires burned 1.5 million hectares of Victorian land, damaged 405 residential homes and more than 650 non-residential structures. Tragically, five lives were lost during the fire season, including two members of the public, two Forest Fire Management Victoria firefighters and one fire contractor.
The book contains stories and photos of all the major fires that summer in north-east, south-east and south-west Victoria, with interviews with brigade members about their experiences.
CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires have become a historically significant natural disaster, etched in the memories of Victorians and CFA volunteers alike.
“The book will give readers an insight into the first-hand experiences of our people and community members during that fire season,” Jason said. “These stories capture the real human impact these events have on people, and it’s important to never forget how these major fires can shape us and our communities.
“Readers will learn of the outstanding sacrifices made by frontline and supporting emergency services workers to protect their communities during a 90-day Victorian and interstate response.
“I sincerely hope this book brings many Victorians and CFA members across the state some reflection and solace, ultimately helping them move forward following these damaging fires.”
This book was funded by Emergency Management Victoria as part of the VICSES/CFA Wellbeing Recovery Project which aims to support the psychological recovery of first responders and their families following the 2019-20 bushfires.
Read Our Black Summer - access the online version
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