Communities all over New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia are feeling the effects of continuing catastrophic bushfires with countless members of our travel industry community affected.
In what are unprecedented levels for Australia, ‘catastrophic’ conditions are forecast for today thanks to rising temperatures and dry winds spreading the fires.
And this on top of the already drought-stricken conditions communities has been suffering for so long.
It’s estimated that 6 million people are affected as far north as Yeppoon and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland down to Byron Bay, Taree, New England, the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley as well as Greater Sydney and Shoalhaven in New South Wales, South Australia and over to Western Australia.
Latest fire prediction map for north coast fires, based on latest observations and forecast. More areas included in risk area if fires take a run as expected today, including Wauchope. Detailed map at https://t.co/BJJg4swtlO #nswrfs #nswfires pic.twitter.com/pfMBuYCVfe
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) November 11, 2019
And of course, it’s agents, tourism operators, hoteliers, transport companies and tourism boards who are all feeling the pain, some of whom are also volunteering as (RFS) Rural Firefighters, heroically risking their own lives to help others.
Many will have to leave their homes today with the hope that when they return their properties, possessions and livestock will still be standing.
It’s the kind of horrifying nightmare most of us can only begin to imagine.
Our domestic tourism industry is set to be impacted by the news-making international headlines, and a 7-day national emergency has been declared in New South Wales. In Brisbane right now the air quality is reportedly worse than Shanghai thanks to the smoke haze.
But as always in these situations, already, there are amazing stories of the generosity of spirit and courage from incredible human beings going the extra mile to help others.
And our glorious travel industry is no exception.
It’s easy to feel helpless at times like these – but that doesn’t need to be the case.
Here’s some positive news and how you can help.
Travel Counsellor Caroline Cameron and her husband are helping fight the fires
Caroline is a Travel Counsellor based in Smiths Lake, 20 minutes South of Forster on the Mid North Coast of NSW. You can read a ‘Travel for life’ piece we ran on Caroline here.
Caroline’s husband Dave Cameron used to work for Peregrine as a BDM and is currently on the front line fighting fires and saving homes for the Pacific Palms RFS.
Caroline has been racing around the area for days collecting supplies for the five small brigades saying “The generosity from the community has been insane. These essential things like water and long-life food have allowed our brigades to be on the fire ground and focus on the massive task at hand.”
All of the brigades need Esky’s for each engine and ongoing supplies to support their continued critical work.
KARRYON is donating to the RFS via Caroline. If you’d like to help too, please email Caroline at [email protected]
If you would like to donate to your local RFS Australia wide, you can donate here.
Airbnb is offering free stays for evacuees
Airbnb started their ‘Open Homes’ service in 2018 off the back of the wildfires in California and has continued the service to significant effect globally.
If you’re an Airbnb host (or would like to be one) and want to donate your place for people to stay while evacuating their own homes, you can register here.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, you can find a free place here courtesy of some very generous souls.
Find out more: www.airbnb.com.au/openhomes/disaster-relief
Wires need donations
Aside from the human loss, so many animals have been decimated with hundreds of Koalas and Kangaroos caught in the bushfires along with many already endangered native species.
Even before the current fire disasters, large areas of Northern NSW and South East Queensland appeared to be experiencing a severe flying-fox starvation and dehydration event.
With species such as Koalas and Grey-Headed Flying-foxes already listed as vulnerable to extinction, the additional loss of life through emergencies like this is even more devastating.
Find out more and donate now: www.wires.org.au
It’s time to lean in and offer a helping hand
Whether affected people are talking about it or not, you can guarantee they are doing it tough emotionally and physically.
And that goes for everyone in our industry.
Call your industry peers in areas you know are affected and see how they’re going. Can you offer any support? From simply listening to helping them with their workload or providing a place to stay or work. Any gesture now will make a massive difference. And that’s before the clean up begins.
Our industry is built on amazing people doing amazing things for others and so now is the time to remind yourself of that and play your part.
GoFundMe has numerous bushfire donation pages set up. More than $250,000 has been raised in the past 72 hours for bushfire victims and firefighters alone with donations from more than 30 countries. You can donate here.
Share this story