WILDFIRE’s Trivia for Bushfires

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Recently we had WILDFIRE’s Trivia for Bushfires. We thank everyone who attended our trivia night! From the night we were able to raise over $3,000. This will be donated to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Appeal, and Wildlife Victoria. This is way more than we ever expected to raise and we are absolutely thrilled with how the night went. You can find pictures from the event here.

We would like to thank a few people:

🔥 Thank you to all our donors on the night who donated over $2,500 worth of raffle prizes, the night would not have been as successful as it was without your support.

🔥 Thank you to the Rosstown for donating the venue.

🔥 Thank you to MIPS for sponsoring the night.

🔥 An especially massive thank you to our amazing MC of the night, Rob Greaves 👨‍🎤

🔥 Thank you to Belle, Andy, Meghan, Claire and Caroline for helping organise the event and run the night

🔥 Thank you to the rest of the council for helping us organise the event

🔥 And thank you to all of you for coming along and supporting WILDFIRE ❤️

We raised $4323 through our Red Cross Bushfire appeal (https://fundraise.redcross.org.au/fundraisers/WILDFIRERHC/fundraise-for-disaster-relief-and-recovery). MUMUS has pledged to donate $1 for every $1 donated up to $5,000, nearly doubling our fundraising effort!

Below are some stories of why the bushfire appeal was so important to us and the students we represent:

Ashleigh Laird is a final year Monash Medicine student (and co-president of Wildfire Rural and Indigenous Health Club) whose grandparents have recently been affected by the fires. Read their story here:

“Walwa is a small town on the north east border of Victoria which was ravaged by bushfires earlier this year. My grandparents have lived in the Upper Murray Region for their entire lives and yet they say these were the worst fires yet. Walwa was encircled by flames with the wall of fire reaching over 70 meters, the roar was deafening. There were fire tornados and oxygen was sucked from the air, the week was grim. Luckily the township of Walwa survived only due to a late wind change, but surrounding farms and homes did not.

Throughout the week of the fires there was no electricity, water or mobile connection. We lost contact with my family for a week. Facebook groups were created to help get donations to these towns. People came together like nothing I have ever seen. My Grandfather stayed behind to fight the second round of flames, and during this time he had no food, animal food, and most importantly beer 😉. I made a post on the Facebook page and so many people were willing to help my Grandfather. The next morning dog food, chicken starter and horse feed had been dropped off to his property or the local drop off point.

The national park surrounding Walwa was decimated in the fires. They say it will take over 5 years to recover, and even then, it still may never recover. This valley was beautiful, with animals and birds roaming freely, now it is silent. The trees are trying their best to bring some greenery back, but the animals may not return for years due to the lack of food.

In the couple of months since the fires, an amazing number of volunteers have come through the town to help the farmers build fences, sheds and rebuild houses. People have flown from all over the state to the region for the day just to buy lunch and dinner to support the local economy. The towns need more of this, they need people to come and stay at their usually bustling caravan park on the river, buy local produce and dine at local pubs.

Recovering from any kind of natural disaster takes time, and some people may never fully recover. However, you can help these people, whether that be by physically helping, or providing donations to support these communities.

Thank you to everyone who has donated so far, every dollar makes a difference.”

Morgan Roney is a fourth year Monash Medicine student who was a finalist in the recent Wildfire Photography Competition. Read her story of her experience fighting in the front line:

“Hi I’m Morgan a 4th year med student and volunteer firefighter with the CFA. As you all know most of the east coast of Australia was on fire over summer. Thousands of people lost homes, crops, livestock, businesses and love-ones. Our bushland and native wildlife populations was decimated.

I spent a week of my summer in East Gippsland around the Omeo area helping with the fire fight. On the days where the weather was milder we spent the day helping strengthen control lines and checking in on homes. Most of the houses we stopped at were empty, their occupants had left, sometimes weeks ago because they couldn’t defend their home. Some stayed to fight. It was mostly those who had livestock and crops that was their livelihood for the next few years that stayed, working hard for weeks to prepare their homes and land for the immanent fires and create contingency plans for post-fires when they will have no feed or business. These people had been on high alert for weeks and some we spoke to just wanted it to come already because once it was burnt the threat was gone and they could work to start rebuilding. We drove through areas where this had happened. Burnt paddocks, fences, bushland, houses and dead animals for as far as you could see.

We spent the most worrying day of my deployment stationed in the town of Ensay to protect the key town assets if the fire raged out of the mountains into the township. For me personally it was a very eerie day, just waiting for what was predicted to be catastrophic. All of the locals too were quietly terrified. My taskforce fought hard to save a few houses that day but luckily it stayed mostly up in the mountains just out of town until the next hot windy day when it would threaten them again.

At the time although I was there I still felt absolutely helpless as there was little we could to do help these individuals and communities. We as firefighters couldn’t stop the fires and only briefly slowed the destruction of property and lives.

Although it is cooler now and university has resumed, the terrors of summer haven’t stopped for these people, and they are still trying to return to normal. This process will continue for years with rebuilding, processing the psychological stress and trying to keep businesses open (which will only be compounded with coronavirus). They still need our help.”