Fires devastate my home state in the Sunburnt Country

Living on the other side of the globe in the U.S., my deepest condolences and heart-felt prayers go out to all the many families who have lost their homes, and worse, their loved ones in the devastating bush fires that have swept my home state of Victoria the last few days.

These fires strike close to home in my family. My brother-in-law’s parents have lost their home and all the sheds on their farm in the community of King Lake. While they are safe, the home they spent 15 years building was burnt to ashes in minutes and dozens of people in their community died as fires consumed their homes. And my sister’s best friend lost one of her childhood friends who died with her parents in their home. The fire moved so fast and with such fierce intensity, many people had too little warning to escape the path of the fire.

As deeply shocking and saddening as this is, I have never been more proud to be an Australian than I have these last few days as I’ve read story after story of the heroism of our CFA volunteer fire fighters and courage of fellow Australians putting their lives at risk to help their mates and neighbors.

While all we can do from here is send money, it’s comforting to know that so many people are giving blood and opening their homes to those who no longer have one.

I am sure this dark time will only serve to strengthen the compassion, deepen the courage and bolster the identity of Australians as brave-hearted men and women ready to rise to whatever adversity mother nature inflicts upon them.

If you can afford to donate to the Red Cross relief effort, please do.