Within just a few hours, the fire was out of control and it became the biggest threat to homes and lives since Ash Wednesday in 1983. The fire razed it's way through the hills, destroying dozens of homes and 13,000 hectares of property in it's path. Miraculously there were no lives lost, but the loss of wildlife, pets and livestock was large and not able to be properly determined.
At the time, it took many days to get the fire under control. It was with thanks to the 700 heroic volunteer firefighters from SA and the many interstate volunteer firefighters that the fire was eventually brought under control. A record 31 aircraft were involved in fighting the fire.
Two weeks after the fire, I visited the area and was left quite speechless. The scope of the fire was just enormous. I don't think I've ever seen an area so devastated by fire, nor ever heard the Adelaide Hills totally silenced. There were very few birds, very few animals, very little signs of life...except the workers who were busy with the job at hand - cleaning up and clearing out.
There is a wonderful group of Aussies called BlazeAid - they are the kind, hard working volunteers who step in and help the home and property owners get back to "normal" as quickly as they can. They provide so much that's needed - mostly tools and fencing supplies. Most importantly - they provide their hands and their bodies to physically help where it's needed most.
BlazeAid re-build fences, they re-plant gardens, they get people started again - they get in there and they help to rebuild lives. And not just after a bushfire. This fantastic group of people will be present after a flood, a cyclone or any where any disaster may strike.
The group started after the Black Saturday fires in 2009 - Australia's worst ever natural disaster. Since then, the group have helped in nearly every Australian disaster since. But, they can't do it without volunteers, sponsors and donations.
BlazeAid are the true spirit of Australia. They help a mate when a mate is down. They lend a hand and raise spirits.