Posted by Thelma Hutchison
We were pleased to welcome Bernie as our guest speaker last week to provide an update on the bushfire recovery progress in East Gippsland.  Bernie explained that on 31 December 2019 the main front of the bushfire created a plume 12 km high with hot northerly winds fanning the flames.  Around midnight the plume collapsed over the Clifton Creek and Sarsfield areas with other fires moving across East Gippsland devastating property, livestock, housing, wildlife, and fauna as it spread.     As a first and early response the five Rotary Clubs in East Gippsland formed the EG Rotary Fire Aid Committee.
Donations were sent from all over the State with members of the local community coordinating the relief centres.  Whilst some property owners have rebuilt their houses there are still many who are displaced, living in caravans and/or are unable to raise the funds needed.  COVID-19 has also slowed progress as volunteers were restricted and recovery activities limited.  Bernie noted that the generosity of Rotary clubs from Melbourne and further afield has been nothing short of amazing.  It has allowed the Fire Aid Committee to continue to support affected people and provide some innovative longer term projects, such as propagating shelter-belt plants.  Bernie thanked RC Glenferrie for our weekend cleaning up and fencing in Sarsfield in March 2020.   He also indicated we would be welcome at any stage once COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted as there is still much to be done.