Our Bushfire Recovery Story released

The launch of Our Bushfire Recovery Story was held August 15, 2019 at the Esperance Civic Centre. Photo: Shire of Esperance.
The launch of Our Bushfire Recovery Story was held August 15, 2019 at the Esperance Civic Centre. Photo: Shire of Esperance.

More than three years following devastating bushfires that claimed the lives of four people, a new book from those who experienced the fires first hand has been released.

'Our Bushfire Recovery Story' includes poems, pictures and stories, which document the Esperance region fires in November of 2015 and how the community has recovered since.

The fires claimed the lives of Scaddan farmer Kym 'Freddy' Curnow and farm workers Thomas Butcher, Anna Winther and Julia Kohrs-Lichte.

The book launch on August 15 at the Esperance Civic Centre was timed to be after a coronial inquest held from March 25 to 29, 2019.

Esperance Shire president Victoria Brown said she hoped the book launch would be uplifting after many had relived the trauma of the fires during the inquest.

The book includes poems from loved ones of those lost in the fires, accounts from those fighting the blaze in various capacities and stories of rebuilding, recovery and generosity.

The book was funded by Lotterywest and is one of a number of the Esperance Shire's recovery projects.

Speaking at the book launch, Esperance Shire president Victoria Brown thanked Amelia Fitzgerald for coordinating the project, Corrina Ridgeway for helping many to tell their stories, designers Kate Dansey and Christiane Smith and photographers Adam Clark and Jaimen Hudson.

'Our Bushfire Recovery Story' project coordinator Amelia Fitzgerald speaking at the book launch. Photo: Jake Dietsch.

'Our Bushfire Recovery Story' project coordinator Amelia Fitzgerald speaking at the book launch. Photo: Jake Dietsch.

A letter from Mr Butcher's mother, Sharon Boak, was read at the launch.

Mrs Boak said she would never fully recover, but contributing to the book had been 'a cathartic experience'.

"We can't bring back the dead, but we can keep their memory alive," she said.

"Esperance is a beautiful place, although the fires should not be forgotten, hopefully this incident will be confined to history and the focus now on moving forward.

"This book is a wonderful tribute to those who lost their lives and to the amazing people of Esperance, fighting the fires and living with the horrific sites that they saw."

To request a hard copy of 'Our Bushfire Recovery Story' email amelia.fitzgerald@esperance.wa.gov.au.

The E-book version is available on the shire's website here.