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One year on, we remember the Blue Mountains bushfires

Red Cross is encouraging people to get the support they need during the anniversary of the fires.

Monday October 20, 2014

One year ago devastating bushfires which swept across parts of the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales. The communities of Winmalee, Yellow Rock and Mt Victoria were the hardest hit. More than 200 homes were lost and many others damaged. Entire communities, businesses, utilities and infrastructure were affected, severely impacting the children, parents and workers in the community.

Over the past 12 months, Red Cross has worked closely with the community as they have begun to rebuild their lives, going door to door, checking on residents and connecting them with vital local support services.

Jody Broun, Red Cross' Executive Director in NSW says she has been impressed by the strength and resilience of local communities affected by the fires. "Recovery is a long, complex and often emotional journey, and we'll continue to be there to support the community and local support services as they continue to recover. During the anniversary we're encouraging people to take care as they remember the disaster and reflect on changes to their lives and their community over the last 12 months."

Red Cross is encouraging people not to be afraid to reach out for help, to family or organisations like Red Cross, to get the support they need.

Rob Gordon, psychologist and consultant to Red Cross, says it's important that people recognise that anniversaries can be a difficult time. "During anniversaries renewed focus on the disaster and images in the media can raise feelings of grief, guilt, sadness or regret. It could even lead some people re-experience the thoughts, feelings and events that occurred during the bushfires and in the days, weeks and months that followed."

"Don't be afraid to ask for help-reach out to family and friends if you need extra support over this period," he said.

The bushfires in New South Wales showed just how devastating emergencies can be. Taking steps to prepare for emergencies improves people's resilience to better cope with and recover from a disaster. For information on how to prepare, and to download Red Cross' free emergency REDiPlan, visit

A tax-deductible donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery ensures that Red Cross is able to respond as soon as an emergency occurs and helps us continue to support people in their journey of recovery. Whenever you see a Red Cross person in action, you will know that your donation has played an important role in activating a Red Cross emergency response.