There is hope after a bushfire

Burning gum at Woodside, Adelaide Hills

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.

Photo: NSW Rural Fire Service

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.

“It’s known a fire will open an area up and seeds will germinate post-fire, as long as it’s not too hot.

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.

Flannel flower

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.”

Raili Tanska

Hope springs eternal


9 thoughts on “There is hope after a bushfire

  1. Thank you Raili for this timely uplifting story…. A few positives help our sorrowful hearts……but as you say we have still a long way to go …. I wrote a poem about this subject this afternoon, I’ll post the final piece tonight……

  2. What a true cause for relief and for celebration, even in the midst of widespread catastrophe. We are learning much about the land and its resilience, much as the world will see, again, how resilient the Australian people are.

  3. The plants will regenerate. Many need fire in order to germinate. But the poor animals are not so lucky. So many have been cruelly burnt to death. And so many of them were severely endangered prior to the fires. They will not recover so easily.

    1. Sad, but true. On a brighter note there are many in rescue centres being treated, more arriving on a daily basis. Public support in assisting the rescue and ongoing care is burgeoning. Contributions of goods and donations is pouring in from all over the world.

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