CFA volunteers are among the local heroes recognised in a new children’s book that celebrates the people who helped protect the East Gippsland region during the 2019-20 fire season.
Heroes of Black Summer was written to help local children process the trauma of the fires, and tells some of the positive stories from the area.
CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan helped launch the book in Nowa Nowa, alongside volunteers from Wairewa Fire Brigade, authors Kylie Miller and Craig Sheather, illustrator Karen Erasmus and Federal MP Darren Chester.
“It’s fantastic to see the members of Wairewa Fire Brigade among those represented in the book,” said CO Heffernan.
“All up and down the eastern seaboard of Australia, the 2019-20 bushfire season left a scar on the landscape.
“There was 98 days of fire potential across these communities, which meant they were constantly on edge and ready for that fire front.
“It’s important to pass on the message to younger generations about the experiences of the communities during that season, as we can learn from those experiences and they can help prepare for future summers.”
Author Kylie Miller, who’s Wairewa orchard was burnt out during the fire, said there were so many people who gave so much to the community during that time.
“From the CFA firefighters and volunteers who were out there day-in-day-out for months, police, emergency workers, charities and service organisations, government agencies, and all the generous people and businesses who donated.
“Many of them had been impacted by fire themselves and their generosity was overwhelming.
“By writing this book, we hope to say thank you and give something back ourselves.”
500 copies of the book will be donated to children and communities impacted by bushfires, and 25 per cent of proceeds will be donated to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.
Heroes of Black Summer is available at all good bookshops or online at www.australiangeographic.com.au/shop/