There are so many bushfires and the news from Queensland and Northern NSW is terrible. And these are unusual because of the drought and the low humidity but I am not buying into discussing causes.
All out of control fires and bushfires cause enormous trauma, especially emotional trauma that often affects people for many years. My heart goes out to all those who are affected in any way.
I was born on the SE coast of England under WW2. My world was full of bombs, fires and other chaos. When I was five years old and after the war, I came home from school to find 3 huge fire engines outside my house dealing with a chimney fire from left over bomb damage. I was safe outside as was Mum and my little brother plus she assured me was the cat. Still it set up a lasting wariness verging on anxiety around fire that is out of control.
We migrated to Australia when I was 9 and lived on the leafy North Shore of Sydney surrounded by bush. I spent many wonderful hours roaming the Lane Cove National Park that we backed onto, but we did have bushfires. One was immediately across the road from our house. No damage to us, just a bit scary.
My family moved to Adelaide when I was 12 just in time to watch the Black Friday fires from the safety of the plains. No TV news at that time means people have largely forgotten this huge inferno. The entire length of the Adelaide Hills appeared to be alight. It was horrendous!
Twenty-odd years later on Ash Wednesday I went home from work to find a wall of flame at the top of my road and a road block. I knew that my son would have ridden his bike up the back lanes to get home from school and be at home unaware of the danger, so I got permission to go home provided I was ready to leave immediately if needed. We were able to prepare the house, pack important things including the cat into the car ready for the kids, dog and I to jump in and go.
And there have certainly been more fires since in South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia that have been just as ferocious. Less often in Queensland because generally the humidity is greater so that the fires don’t get as out of control as this time. When I lived in FNQ on a small farm for several years I fought fires near my house but never anything like the current intensity.
As Australians we have to learn to live with these fires, but our hearts still go out to all those people affected. OH YES, I understand the anxiety and trauma and I know that even seeing the fires on the news can trigger flashbacks for some people. I lived with this for many years until I was able to heal my own PTSD.
I have certainly worked with clients who have been traumatised by fires and by what has been lost. So often their major trauma has been about animals who were lost. Like all anxiety and trauma this can be healed and recovering from this is transformational.
Fires, floods and cyclones are so devastating and so much part of the wide brown land that we all love.