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Community Recovery

One Minute Silence

Shire President Victoria Brown invites the community to acknowledge the November 2015 bushfires and remember the lives lost in a minutes silence at 2.00pm on 17 November 2016.Community members are invited to partake in the minute of silence either by attending the live acknowledgement at the Jetty Headland or by tuning into local radio stations including ABC Esperance, Hot FM & Radiowest.

Our Recovery Story

The intense bushfires of November 2015 deeply impacted on the Esperance community - resulting in astounding community strength, bravery & support.

You are invited to contribute your story toward this important record of local history & have it published in the form of a book, as a continual reminder of our community’s resilience.

For many, an important part of the bushfire recovery process is to tell their story or share their experience. The Shire of Esperance with the support of Lotterywest wish to work with the community to collate stories, tributes, testimonials, poems & images to publish a community memoir of Esperance’s November 2015 bushfires.

This book will be gifted, in appreciation, to the firefighters, visiting brigades, community & organisation volunteers, and most importantly those directly affected by the fires. The publication will also be made available to the community.

To submit your contributions, find out more about supplying your story, or to have a representative meet to take down your experience, please contact Amelia on (08) 90710 675 or email: amelia.rolton@esperance.wa.gov.au Submissions can be mailed to Amelia Rolton, PO Box 507, Esperance WA 6450 - or dropped in to the Shire Office.

Fire Recovery Newsletter

A monthly Fire Recovery Newsletter is distributed throughout the community. To receive these newsletters sign up here.

The Plan

The Recovery Plan ‘Recover Rejuvenate Restore’ was prepared by the Local Recovery Committee on behalf of the fire affected communities of Cascade, Scaddan and Merivale. It outlines projects and initiatives that aim to enable community recovery and strengthen community resilience following the Cascade and Merivale fires.

The Recovery Plan acts as a living document. This ensures ongoing conversations with the community and changes in their needs are reflected by the plan. 

The Strategy

The Community Consultation Strategy details how the Shire will aim to work in collaboration with the community to further develop the Plan.

The Strategy also acts as a living document. This ensures that it continues to grow and evolve as opportunities to engage with people become available. Careful consideration has been made throughout the initial development of this document given the personal dynamics in recovery, varying levels of readiness for people to talk about recovery and the need to restrict any additional burden on people’s time.

Community Recovery Priority Areas

A set of community recovery priority areas will be identified based on the outcomes of the community consultation. These priority areas will reflect the community need and it is anticipated that the community recovery projects and initiatives will be linked to one or more of these priorities. If the need arises for further projects or initiatives to be developed to meet the identified priority areas, suitable project development will be undertaken by the relevant stakeholder.

Currently the following community recovery priority areas have been identified. Once consultation has been undertaken further priority areas may be identified. Community recovery priority areas include:

Effective Communication - Effective communication is essential to the recovery and ensures that community members and stakeholders are provided with up to date information around recovery and fire preparedness.

Environment - Essential to community recovery is the recovery of the environment.  This includes the regeneration of native species and addressing weed management with the need to provide a high level of support to the affected community members in Merivale.

Strengthening Community Resilience - Affected communities had strong community networks and support prior to the event however community recovery provides further opportunities to promote community cohesion and to further enhance community support.

Preparedness - Fire preparedness is an important part of recovery and has been identified as a priority by local stakeholders and residents.

Strengthening Community Capacity - As a key aspect of the National Principles for Disaster Recovery, strengthening community capacity will be included as a community recovery priority area as it underpins recovery and fire preparedness.

Background

A dry lightning storm across the Shire of Esperance on Sunday 15 November 2016 resulting in several reported fires. Four fires were reported around Lake Mends within the Unallocated Crown Land (UCL) approximately 40 kilometres north of Cascade. These fires merged into one fire over the following 24 hours.

Additionally, a lighting strike started a fire at Doombup Lake along Merivale Road approximately 20 kilometres east of Esperance. A further three fires began in the eastern parts of the Shire of Esperance within the Department of Parks and Wildlife estate.

The Cascade fire burnt an area of approximately 133,000ha resulting in four fatalities, stock and crop losses, house, shed and machinery losses and damage. The Merivale fire burnt an area of approximately 18,000ha resulting in a small amount of stock losses and damage to several properties in the area.

The fires to the east in the Department of Parks and Wildlife estate burnt approximately 99,000ha resulting in significant damage to the natural environment including extensive damage to flora and fauna. Department of Parks and Wildlife have been simultaneously managing the recovery from these fires.