The destructive blazes of the bushfires throughout Australia have had an impact on everyone in one way or another, whether that’s due to personally being affected by them or knowing someone who has been affected.
Hundreds of deaths were caused both directly and indirectly because of the bushfires, leaving over 3000 people to be admitted to hospitals and slightly over 1000 emergency room visits. Not only were human lives lost, communities suffered more loss with the thousands of homes that had been damaged or completely destroyed by the bushfires.
Australian businesses also suffered in varying degrees, with roughly a quarter of them stating that they had been affected by the bushfires in one way or another. These businesses reported being affected by things such as cancellations due to injury, mental health or loss of income, no access to property due to fires, staff unavailability due to volunteering or sickness, less demand due to declining orders and tourists, and in the worst case being burned out completely.
An example of a business that was destroyed by the bushfires is the Snowy River Wildernest Holiday Retreat. The owners made a post in December on social media that after 25 years of operating in the tourism industry, they have made the decision not to rebuild. Both of their accommodation houses, along with the camping areas, were completely burned down as well as nearby trees. This ultimately led to the business shutting down as it could take decades for the surrounding wilderness to recover, and even then the regrowth could be completely different to the scenery that attracted their customers.
The bushfires ravaged the country, burning up more than 3.6 million hectares of land which is bigger than Belgium. A historical precedent was set because of these fires, with the first compulsory call out of the ADF Reserve Brigades in Australia’s history. Along with the large scale military mobilisation, the HMAS Adelaide was deployed to assist coastal communities evacuate. Australian civilians helped combat the bushfires, with over 150,000 volunteer firefighters assisting the 15,000 permanent and part-time firefighters.
Although the bushfires had a tragic impact on the livelihood of many Australians and Australian businesses, everyone came together to help prevent further damage to the country, speed up the recovery process and move forward from the destruction left in the wake of this natural disaster.