The bushfire crisis across Victoria and around the country has dominated headlines this summer. Those who have been impacted directly will need ongoing support and care as they deal with the immediate threat and later, as they begin to rebuild.
There are also many who may not have experienced a direct impact or loss but are experiencing bereavement as a result of witnessing this loss of life, land and wildlife.
In this time of great tragedy, we have seen the very best of the Knox community.
Council has been inundated with messages from residents looking for ways they can support bushfire relief efforts.
Members of local emergency services including the Ferntree Gully CFA and Scoresby Fire Brigade have attended the fires in East Gippsland, providing on-the-ground support to those fighting the bushfires and witnessing the horrific conditions first-hand.
Local clubs and community organisations have held fundraisers and collected donations to support impacted families and communities.
Knox City Council Mayor, Cr Nicole Seymour said that the response has been testament to the character of Knox.
“We are a community that truly cares about our natural environment and about each other,” said Cr Seymour.
“The true sense of mateship, generosity and compassion within the Knox community has shone during this time of incredible hardship.”
“Here in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, our natural landscape is precious to us and the threat of fire is all too close to home for many.”
“The phenomenal generosity we have seen from Knox locals truly illustrates our community’s willingness to pitch in and lend a helping hand wherever is needed. I thank everyone who has contributed in any way they can during this time.”
Knox Council has also responded to calls for support from impacted municipalities, providing resourcing assistance with response and relief efforts, such as deploying staff to support East Gippsland Shire.
We will continue to work with the Municipal Association of Victoria regarding further assistance required over the coming weeks and months, as the impacted areas begin recovery efforts.
Those who still wish to provide support are reminded that monetary donations are the best way to ensure your contribution goes to helping those effected by the bushfires.
The fires in East Gippsland have been burning since November and with the fire season set to continue for several months, the generous contributions of those in Knox, across Australia and around the world need to continue to ensure these communities have the resources needed to rebuild.
Cr Seymour echoed this sentiment. “As individuals, we can keep these communities front-of-mind and consider how we can support them on an ongoing basis,” she said.
“As well as monetary donations, choosing to purchase produce and products from East Gippsland is a fantastic way to support businesses in the impacted areas and assist them in providing jobs as their communities begin to rebuild.”
“So when you’re doing your grocery shopping, take a look at the label – if it says ‘made in East Gippsland’, make it your first choice.”
Visit the VicEmergency website for more information and resources on the bushfires and how to provide support.
Fire safety: a year-round focus
The current bushfire situation places a spotlight on our local efforts to eliminate fire hazards and reduce bushfire risk. In Knox, with the Dandenong Ranges on our doorstep, it’s vital that we take strong measures to prevent and protect our community and our natural and built environment from the threat of fire.
Fire knows no borders. Successfully mitigating the risks of bushfire in Knox requires a collaborative effort and partnerships with neighbouring councils, emergency services and other responsible agencies to protect our communities, as well as the many land owners within our city.
Reducing fire risk is about being ready. It’s about preparing our land, our property and our people to eliminate risk factors and respond quickly and decisively.
Some of the ongoing activities coordinated by Council to assess and remove fire risks include property inspections in the Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO), green area and open space maintenance (including controlled burns where appropriate) and our continued Emergency Management planning processes.