The Forcett and Peninsula bushfire began on Thursday 3rd January, wreaking havoc in the scorching conditions on Friday 4th January and for days to follow.
Our hearts go out to all affected by the devastating fires, especially at Dunalley, Copping and Primrose Sands and all the Dunalley School community.
A huge thanks to all the fabulous firefighters, police, sea rescue and everyone working tirelessly to keep us safe. Great job Tas Fire Service, Dodges Ferry Fire Brigade and 936 ABC Radio keeping everyone informed.
Dodges Ferry’s Community Recreation Centre gym at the school became a temporary refuge for people in the Forcett and southern beaches area who needed a safer place to go to as bushfires threatened their homes.
Dodges Ferry principal Andy Bennett was bushwalking on the far SW coast with school chaplain David Walker when David was airlifted out by ABC helicopter to be reunited with his family on Sunday. Back from the walk Monday night, Andy contacted Dodges Ferry staff (all safe) and visited the Dodges Ferry Fire Station and the community refuge at Sorell to get a better sense of the local situation.
The Prime Minister and Premier toured the fire affected areas on Monday and the government announced that Dunalley Primary School will be rebuilt.
Andy Bennett and Dunalley principal Matt Kenny are part of a team preparing for the new school year and best available options for Dunalley’s 130 students.
Elizabeth Knox and the Dunalley School Committee are rallying community support, gathering classroom, playground and other supplies the school will need and urging the government, other schools, businesses and individuals to help replace what was destroyed in the firestorm on Friday.
The Dodges Ferry Primary School Association have offered to help replace the new school uniform tops bought by the Dunalley parent body but lost in the fire.
Dodges Ferry fitness centre Healthy Horizons is running a kids Zumbtomic “Dance for Dunalley” on Thursday 17th January, collecting books for the Dunalley School appeal.
Okines Community House and other local organisations are planning fundraisers and other support.
As bushfires continue across Tasmania, please stay safe and remember:
- Keep up to date with Tasmanian Fire Service online and the TFS and Dodges Ferry Fire Brigade on Facebook and ABC Local Radio (936 AM in the south east).
- Check the detailed bushfire recovery Q&A for who to contact, how to get help, how to help others…
- Make cash donations to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal or to Salvation Army, Bendigo Bank etc so that emergency services can provide support as/when needed. Donated goods often do not meet actual needs and recovery organisers will appeal for specific items if needed.
- If you want to help the recovery effort long-term the best thing to do is to register with Volunteering Tasmania on 1800 677 895 or (03) 6231 5550 between 9am and 4pm.
- Follow the Dodges Ferry School Community on Facebook for updates about our school and helping Dunalley School too.