On this day three years ago, terrible bushfires swept across our state, taking with them the lives of 173 humans, countless animals, domestic and wild, and wiped out over two thousand homes.
There is no single word that can describe that day or the feelings over the next week as those awful numbers kept climbing. Today we remember that long month of hot dry weather, monitoring burning tree stumps, fending off ember attack and pouncing on spot fires and we remember the lives that were changed forever.
But alongside the tragedy of that time, I also wanted to reflect on the good. Out of the ashes came stories of miraculous survival, and normal, everyday people who rose up to the incredible challenges put before them and out of their acts of compassion and love for their fellow humans became accidental heroes.
There were neighbours, relatives, members of the emergency services and complete strangers who out of the trying circumstances (and without even thinking about it) showed what the human spirit is all about and rose up on angels wings to prove how communities can come together and how even the smallest act of kindness or compassion can make such a difference.
Thank you to all those heroes of Black Saturday. We remember those who were lost, but we also remember those who fought the fires, survived the fires and then fought to keep their communities alive and to support their neighbours and friends devasted lives back to some semblance of normalcy.