With fires devastating communities and landscapes in East Gippsland, north east Victoria, south west Victoria, southern NSW and across many other parts of the country, it has been a sombre start to the year.
All those affected by the bushfire—the firefighters, first responders, community members, and wildlife — are front of mind for us.
Here is an initial list of ideas about how you can help affected communities.
How to support emergency efforts
The scale of these bushfires is unprecedented. We urge people to donate to relief efforts if they have the capacity to do so. Here we list a number of grassroots and volunteer efforts that we are aware of.
Local, volunteer based groups can respond quickly and efficiently and deliver support appropriate to that communities needs.
Support First Nations people and organisations.
A crowdfunder to help First Nations people affected by the fires can be found here.
Help the Bega Local Aboriginal Land Council (Bega LALC) secure funding to undertake cultural burning work on Yuin Country - southern NSW, that has been badly impacted by the 2019/20 summer wildfires. Details here.
The Firesticks Alliance is an Indigenous led organisation that works with communities, land and fire agencies and organisations across Australia.
Indigenous knowledge of culture and country, skills and experience in both cultural burns and contemporary fire management practices present a unique opportunity to reinvigorate Australia’s cultural fire knowledge to heal Country across Australia.
Foodbank Victoria has already dispatched emergency food and water to the fire-affected areas. They’re seeking donations to keep the supplies going.
Help Goongerah residents rebuild.
The remote community of Goongerah in far East Gippsland has been hard hit by devastating fires. They need your help to repair and prepare to survive the remainder of this unprecedented fire season.
You can support them to rebuild their community via this crowd fund page.
Support organic farmers
There are many organic and biodynamic farmers in the direct line of the bushfires across Southern Australia. Together with enduring the longest drought on record, we want to keep these farmers in business.
To recover from the fires and retain their organic certification farmers urgently need help with:-
- Certified organic fodder
- Certified organic agistment
- Transport to suitable organic farmland until the danger passes
- Funds to replace farm equipment, farm structures and implements
You can find out more and donate here.
If you would like a fire fund raising event listed here please email details to: [email protected]
If you live in Gippsland
Support the community of Goongerah
Preserve our Forests Mirboo North (PoF) member, Rosemary Cousin is coordinating a relief effort from Mirboo North, focusing on Goongerah and surrounding communities in East Gippsland, where many stayed to protect their homes.
Apart from property loss, sadly there has also been massive wildlife destruction. It may be many weeks before the area is opened up so, residents will need a great deal of support. We have many friends in this region through working together on the forest campaign. If you would like to do something practical to help, please let Rosemary know.
What is needed:
- Bandages and other first aid materials, facemasks
- Food supplies - mostly non-perishables
- Building tools and materials - a wide range including solar powered and rechargeable power tools
- Fencing materials including staples, strainers, wire and posts
- Shade cloth, strong ropes, shovels, hoses, gardening gloves
- Fodder supplies: round bales, grains, pellets, animal recovery materials including salves for burns, baby animal sustenance (all species)
- Storage containers eg larger "rhino" metal containers
- Kitchen and living equipment - gas bottles and burners, pots and pans, plates and bowls,cutlery, bedding (not sure of clothing yet)
- Transport vehicles - semi-trailer/s, licensed driver, diesel
- Bigger things include generators, portable sheds (large & small), pumps, shelving, furniture
- Off-farm respite for horses, goats, sheep, chickens, dairy cows - with animal transport.
Please contact Rosemary if you can help in any way with the above E: [email protected] Mob: 0408 958 025
If you would prefer to make a financial donation, these are the recommended organisations:
Gippsland horse safe is organising support for people who need assistance looking after their horses after the fire.
This relief effort is being facilitated by Tarrah and Phil Stacey, Kelly Van Den Berg, Tegan Hector and Kylie Dann at Gippsland Horse Safe Bushfire Assistance and Jaidyn McLellan who organising the generous donations and considerable logistics of getting hay and feed where it’s needed.
$7 buys a square bale. $30 buys a bag of feed. $70 buys a round bale
Account name - Fire Relief
We will NOT be using any donations for fuel or transport costs. All monies will go directly to purchasing fodder.
Check their facebook page for further details.
Please remember to leave water out for wildlife in hot weather.
There is useful info on animals and heat available here. https://www.facebook.com/wildlifevictoria/
Feeding wild animals
Feeding wildlife is not normally encouraged. However during prolonged drought and following bushfires, many animals and birds may be weak and vulnerable as they are deprived of their usual water, food and shelter sources.
If vegetation is still available in the environment we do not recommend any support feeding of wildlife. Where vegetation has been entirely destroyed, and you have seen surviving wildlife, there may be a case for support feeding.
There are details here, provided by Wildlife Victoria, about how to go about providing food to wild animals affected by the fires.
Wildlife support and rescue groups
If you have land impacted by fire and need to feed wildlife, we can direct you to free food for wildlife and instructions on the best way to feed them. Check here for contact details (this is largely focused on East Gippsland).
Food for wildlife hubs:
Clifton Creek - Sarah Day [email protected] / 0474 735 678 (limited phone reception)
Granite Rock - Shelly Nundra 0439 559 814
Sarsfield - Michele Leyshan 0488 011 200
Bruthen - Mick Donelly 0467 702 132
Buchan - Karen Devey 0429 179 546
Sardine Creek and surrounds - Wayne Jones 0497 525 316
Kangaroos and other animals
The Animal Rescue Collective is helping organise food for rescued kangaroos and other macropods. You can sign up to join the effort to feed wildlife across the the fire impacted landscape in East Gippsland. Details here.
For details on grassroots efforts to provide feed for native animals in East Gippsland, please check this listings page from EcoShout.
Bruthen Wildlife Shelter
A volunteer effort based in Bruthen in East Gippsland.
‘We are setting up macropod fencing and enclosures at the wildlife shelter in Bruthen, 20acres that backs onto reserve and conservation areas, and one of few pockets not completely burnt from the bushfires, it is important we are able to support surviving wildlife, and when safe, release rehabilitated wildlife back into these populations to help populations and the ecosystems recover.
We need to create large, very tall enclosed and predator proof areas for our macropods, as well as use shade clothes off enclosures, make shelters etc for them all. any assistance to collect items, or help building fences, would be amazing'.
You can donate here >
WIRES - supporting native animals impacted by the fires.
You can support their work here.
Native Animal Rescue Group. NARG is a community organisation located in the Southern Tablelands of NSW. NARG hosts a wildlife rescue hotline that is manned 24 hours a day 7 days a week for the general public to report wild animals in need of assistance. Details here.
The Australian Association of Bush Regenerators (AABR) is keen to support the regeneration of ecosystems impacted by the 2019-20 fires.
Visit AABR's website to find out about:
AABR's post-fire wildlife habitat regeneration response.
How to seek assistance for post-fire weed management.http://www.aabr.org.au/do/post-fire-wildlife-habitat-recovery-response/register-for-assistance-with-regeneration/
How to volunteer to assist the recovery with time and expertise
Links to other groups and resources involved in recovery.
How to donate to support education and assistance https://hub.benojo.com/campaigns/aabr-s-post-fire-wildlife-habitat-regeneration-response
Get involved in recovery efforts
Food For Wildlife East Gippsland
An incredible network of mutual aid and support is developing to provide relief to impacted communities. A network of local landholders is also emerging to provide food, water and shelter to hungry and homeless wildlife.
While feeding wildlife is not recommended under normal circumstances, there is currently an urgent need to make food available for wildlife in fire impacted areas until natural food sources have regrown.
Due to the overwhelming support flowing into this network from people who want to feed and help wildlife, Friends of the Earth is teaming up with local networks to strengthen the Food for Wildlife network.
Get involved here.
Once the fires are over, we will be collaborating with a number of groups and communities to support their recovery efforts. This will involve field trips to do hands on work - mending fences, cleaning up, building works, ecological restoration, etc.
These will happen primarily in Victoria.
If you'd like to be notified of when these trips are happening, please email [email protected] with WORK TRIPS in the subject line.
These trips would be volunteer efforts.
We’ll share more information about how to support bushfire relief and recovery efforts via our Facebook page so stay tuned.
If there are other things you think the Friends of the Earth network can do to help during this difficult period, please let us know by emailing [email protected] or [email protected]
For now, stay safe, look out for each other, and follow Vic Emergency for updates and info for how you can get prepared.
There’s still a long way to go to get through the summer.
To add groups and causes to this page, please email [email protected] with brief details and links.
IMAGE BELOW: Animal feed station with water bowl with stick, grass hay and wallaby pellets positioned near wombat hole with log protection, in East Gippsland. One of many set up by volunteers. Image: Sarah Day.