The devastating bushfires of October 2013 not only destroyed homes, precious possessions and memories but also impacted severely on local wildlife and the environment. This event, whilst traumatic, has been a catalyst for resilience and community building.
The Blue Mountains Sustainable Approaches to Fire and Emergencies [BSAFE] project was implemented to evaluate our community's response to the emergency.
The BSAFE report was launched last week in Katoomba by the Minister. Partner organisations included the Blue Mountains and Lithgow Integrated Neighbourhood Network [BLINN] consortium, the Mountains Community Resource Network and the NSW Rural Fire Service.
The report was authored by Dr Sarah Redshaw and Dr Valerie Ingham of Charles Sturt University, Kath Harrison and Toni Quigley, and photos were by MaryLou Keating and Jenny Bigelow.
The project reached almost 700 households across the Blue Mountains. Through BSAFE, a unique partnership emerged between community services and emergency services.
Various models to build preparedness and community resilience included Meet Your Street events, More Than a Fire Plan seminars and the Heads Up For Fire workshops.
I congratulate all those involved in the project, which will no doubt have long-term benefits for communities across the country.