Our latest meeting was a combined one with the Matilda Bay Club, and what a beautiful setting they enjoy each week! The two Speakers of the day were Peter Durrant and Rick Sneeuwjagt; Peter spoke about the Wooroloo and Gidgegannup area fires, whilst Rick outlined the role that Rotary has played and still plays in the recovery process. The fires started at Wooroloo on 1st February 2021 as a result of a spark from an angle grinder, the countryside having been set up for such an event by a very wet November followed by a very dry December and January. Slowly houses started to succumb after embers spread across the area, and all in all 86 properties were destroyed. Aerial water bombers proved to be somewhat ineffective in the circumstances. The devastation underlined what precautions should be taken to avoid such disasters: areas near and around houses should be clear of growth, and special care should be taken with trees; firefighting equipment and sprinklers should be available and regularly serviced; communications between neighbours should be established and maintained; options for pet and livestock care should be explored; and insurance cover should be checked regularly. Furthermore, weather forecasts and fire alerts should be monitored; people should evacuate sooner rather than later, leaving only fit people behind; and spot fires should be put out if possible. Rick explained that Rotary has been assisting by providing advice and funding and so far about $350,000 has been spent on restoration and other measures.
Those present also celebrated Big Hat Day for Australian Rotary Health by wearing a suitable piece of headgear.