It’s not over yet. The bushfire season has only just started. And more hot weather is just around the corner. But we have had some respite with cooler weather and a smattering of rain. Not enough to put out any fires though. Ironically, the season’s first tropical cyclone is raging in and around Darwin.
Even when fires are extinguished trees, like the one on the left, continue to burn. The smouldering embers extend underground to the roots, which can spread to neighbouring trees. Flare ups are a serious risk. The work of the firefighters continues with monitoring of hot spots and dousing the ground to prevent fires erupting.
But where there has been devastation, signs of new growth and regeneration are also evident.
A Rural Fire Service crew spotted this Christmas Bell wildflower growing in an area that had been ravaged by fires for over two weeks back in November 2019.
The Australian bush is resilient to fire. Many species need it to germinate seeds. Regrowth can even be seen despite a lack of rain.
The flannel flower is another hardy species. They respond to smoke. Interestingly, mental health in Australia has chosen this very flower as its national symbol to promote mental health awareness. It is particularly apt at this time.
‘The Australian bush has an inherent beauty and strength. It is also known for its extremes of weather and landscape. Varieties of the Flannel Flower are commonly found growing wild in the bush throughout Australia. The Flannel Flower, as with all native Australian plants, needs to be adaptable and enduring in order to survive.
In the same way all of us, regardless of our life circumstances, develop resilience and the ability to adapt to change, in order to maintain good mental health.
Being open and empathetic to a person’s expression of distress can assist in the recovery of a person living with mental illness and change the negative attitudes of our society as a whole.’
The Kinglake Black Saturday fires ravaged the National Park in Feb 2009. The video below was filmed over several years by Parks Victoria to show how resilient the Australian bushland is.
Already now, people are beginning to notice new growth in the current fire ravaged areas. We hope and pray that it will continue as we head into yet another day of extreme heat tomorrow.
“A lot of the plants that have root systems well down in the soil — where the root wouldn’t have been burnt — they are re-shooting.”
Hope springs eternal