• Factivists

Australia on Fire

Grace Swain Shares her experiences and the harrowing photographs in living amidst the catastrophic Australian bushfires.




The sky (and everything else) is glowing bright yellow this morning and it reeks of smoke inside the house. Going outside feels like you’re going to choke. We’re trying to travel home today before all the roads close.




We first saw the smoke in Melbourne on the 19th of Dec when we left for Wodonga where my parents live. The whole way there, it was smokey and the smoke has only gotten worse since. Where I live in Melbourne was evacuated recently, on the 30th and we have been stranded, unable been to return. My sister, who was also visiting my parents has been stuck at my parent's house here. Canberra, where she lives, is so smokey you can barely see the houses across the road and all the nature strips along the roads are burnt and black.


The smoke is so thick on some days that you could smell it even inside the house and its coats everything, there once was a visible haze in the backyard. Ash has been falling on my aunt's house.


It seriously looks like an apocalypse everywhere you go. Everything is black. The skies are grey or orange. The sun is red. I haven’t seen a blue sky in weeks. Every morning we check the emergency website to see how much closer the fires have gotten (and they keep getting closer) and whether we can go home yet. It’s never been this bad before.






I’ve been really lucky though compared to others. I’m lucky I have somewhere I can stay until I can go home and I’m lucky my house in Melbourne hasn’t been touched so far and that we’re still in the clear here. A lot of people are working really hard to keep everyone safe and the fires contained. We’re hoping for rain tomorrow so we can go home since we’re sorta getting circled by bushfires here and might need to evacuate if it continues to spread and want to do so before the roads close. Most of my extended family has also been planning for evacuations.


If you could use your platform to ask for donations towards the firefighters here that would be really helpful, they’ve been working non-stop for months now and our prime minister is doing shit all to help.


Here are some places you can donate to Australia to help the volunteer fire effort