Apparently 71 homes were lost to the fire in my area and many more damaged.
No one lost their lives, for which we can be very grateful. The work done by the fire brigade and volunteers was amazing!
The fire is not yet out - but it is contained and controlled. Most people have been let back into where their houses are / were, but not every one - some areas are still too dangerous.
Living near the fire you hear stories of friends / acquaintances / relatives of friends at every turn.
There's the good news stories - 8 out of 9 houses in one street were destroyed, the one left standing belongs to a family with children in my girls' classes; mother and aunt of a work mate still have their respective houses although one hasn't got in to see it yet.
And the sad stories - 17 families at the school (probably only 250 families in the school in total) have lost their homes; there's a notice up at the local shops about a young mum, she's okay, but her and her 5month old bub have lost everything. Friends have provided a place to stay, but she needs clothes, and baby stuff and everything else.
And then there's the impact that you don't initially think of - access to the area has been impacted by a bridge being burnt down, so now the journey to my girls' school is longer and on a road that isn't designed for the amount of traffic it is now taking. So they've reduced the speed from 70kph to 40kph - so now the trip takes even longer. Girl Guides was cancelled on Monday night - the hall is behind the fire station and access is now blocked off so not to interfere with emergency vehicles. These are, of course, minor things but it does bring back to you how intertwined things are.
Most of the people have insurance, so that will help (eventually) with the rebuilding of their homes, but there are so many things that insurance can't replace.
You do what you can, give what you can but you really feel it's not enough.