What we’ve seen

The past week has delivered a devastating blow to our Hills community.
For many people, this fire is one of the worst in living memory.
As we have driven around our community over the past four days we have seen home after home burned to the ground.
We’ve been there as residents have picked through ruins that were once homes full of their memories.
We’ve seen paddocks still burning days after the firefront swept past and farming machinery and hundreds of sheds reduced to piles of twisted steel.
We’ve driven by kilometre after kilometre of charred ground and heard stories of devastating loss and remarkable courage.
We’ve seen livestock killed and injured and others left without feed.
We’ve seen people left homeless just days before Christmas.
But over the past few days we’ve also seen the incredible impact of our courageous local volunteers who left their own properties at risk and rushed towards the inferno when most people in the fire’s path were getting out.
We’ve seen those volunteers and other emergency crews battle to hold back the fires just metres from townships, saving hundreds of homes.
We’ve seen them fight through the night to the point of exhaustion.
We’ve seen them put their lives on the line for the sake of others.
We’ve heard stories of locals checking on their vulnerable neighbors and saving property that wasn’t theirs and we’ve seen people offer strangers everything from fodder and food to a place to stay or keep livestock.
We’ve seen businesses that are preparing to take a hit give away hundreds of dollars of food.
We’ve seen hundreds of donations for fire victims and we’ve seen those victims rally the strength to share a laugh or a smile, even while their world is shattered around them.
The last few days have been nothing short of devastating.
But in the midst of that we’ve seen a community that will not be broken.
We’ve seen a community that has come together when it counts the most.
We’ve seen – yet again – a community of which we are proud to be a part.