About the 2020 Upper Murray fires
On December 30 2019, the Upper Murray was faced with one of its biggest natural disasters ever as wildfire engulfed the region. The fire started in New South Wales on 26 December near Walwa and burned into mid-January. Almost 600 properties were impacted, with:
- 82 dwellings destroyed
- hundreds of properties and buildings lost
- kilometres of fencing ruined
- nearly 6,000 livestock killed or missing.
The fires ultimately burnt through more than 380,000 hectares of land.
Our region suffered huge personal and business losses, especially in the agricultural sector. The impact on our beautiful, natural environment has been immense. The secondary and tertiary impacts on the broader community and businesses cannot be underestimated.
The scorched landscape and the dead stags will stand for many years as a reminder of the fire’s impact. As the epicormic growth sprouts from those trees that managed to survive, it reminds us of nature’s resilience and the strength that will be required of communities.
For many, it's still a long road that lies ahead, with many ups and downs. The challenge for all of us is to band together and support one another along that road. Our community is interwoven and although we don’t think about it often, we all depend on each other for our economic and social wellbeing. Opportunities are emerging out of this disaster, and, if we manage them well, we will grow stronger as a community.
I must say a huge thank you to the volunteers and agencies for the work they've put in to the disaster response and subsequent recovery. The support we've received from so many in the community has been heart-warming. People have come from all over Australia and the world to risk their lives fighting fires or support our community with recovery efforts.
From managing the relief centres, helping build fences or delivering hay, in the face of tragedy we are reminded of how good humanity is. Hundreds of thousands of strangers have donated time, money and goods to support us and the many other communities impacted by the fires across Australia.
On behalf of Towong Municipal Recovery Committee and the Upper Murray Community Recovery Committees I applaud the work of all the agencies and people committed to our ongoing recovery.
Towong Shire Mayor