Just before the New Year Wairewa was hit by the East Gippsland bushfires. The fires destroyed eleven properties and left the community devastated.
The bushfires were predicted to go through Nowa Nowa but in the early hours of the night a wind change meant that Wairewa was directly hit.
A CFA strike team responded alongside the Wairewa Brigade as members of the community congregated in the local hall.
Members were able to protect the local hall and the community members inside, however eleven properties were destroyed.
Two members of Westbury Brigade were members of the strike team that protected Wairewa.
Following a brigade meeting, Westbury members agreed to adopt an area and specifically support that area to rebuild their community.
Due to the connection members had to Wairewa, Westbury Captain David Gridley reached out to Wairewa Brigade Captain Julian Davies to see how they could help.
Julian specifically asked for new materials that could help rebuild their community straight away. With this information Westbury Brigade began a tool drive.
“We got a large amount of tools donated from our local area. Our social media posts started to go viral and people really wanted to help.” David said.
“People started to donate money, and with that money we bought local supplies to deliver to Wairewa, including $10,000 worth of fencing materials.”
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The Westbury brigade received so many donations that they will be doing another supply drop in the coming weeks. David stressed the importance of really supporting these communities, not only now but in the months to come.
“I’d encourage brigades to take on the same approach we have, and adopt a brigade to really support them and their needs,” David said.
“There is a lot of good will out there at the moment, but we want to make sure these communities aren’t forgotten about.
“It’s important they get ongoing support.
“After the fires are out, go and visit these communities, go to the local store and buy a pie. They are going to need support for a long time.”