Carngham reflects on anniversary of devastating bushfire

ONE YEAR on from the devastating fire that ripped through Carngham and Chepstowe, the landscape and the community are still recovering.

On January 8 last year a fast-moving grassfire tore through the region, near Snake Valley, destroying nine homes across 1300 hectares. One of the buildings destroyed was the historic Carngham Station homestead.

Today, those affected will be able to take a moment to reflect on the heartbreaking event, which has strengthened the community and brought people closer together as they lend a helping hand.

Pyrenees Shire Council municipal recovery manager Sue O’Brien said the community was in different stages of recovery, with some people doing better than others.

“There will be people who will feel this brings back some really bad memories,” she said.

“For other people it will be a sign of the fact that they’ve survived and moved on. It’s not the same for everyone.”

After the heavy emotional toll of last year, Ms O’Brien said some parts of the community were bracing themselves for another fire season. 

“We talk to people who went through the last bushfires in Snake Valley a few years ago,” she said. 

“They still talk about that fire season. I don’t think this is something people are going to get over in a hurry.”

The landscape is different to what it was last year, before and after that frightening day. There’s still evidence of the blaze but the landscape is recovering well.

“There are still some scars on the landscape, that’s for sure. It just looks very different because of the amount of trees that have been lost,” Ms O’Brien said.

Ms O’Brien said most of the council’s work in assisting with the recovery had been completed, which included rebuilding road signs and posts, as well as clearing dangerous trees.

However, she said some people still needed help in rebuilding after the fires, and she praised the Carngham Bushfire Appeal, which raised more than $139,000.

tom.cowie@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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