The 2019–20 Australian summer brought devastating bushfires to communities across the country. Images and stories of smoke-blackened skies, burning homes and injured wildlife were shared on screens and newspaper pages around the world. Many of the affected communities are still recovering — a task made more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the Embers is a nine-part radio and podcast series from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA). It tells the gritty, real and hopeful stories of the communities affected by the fires. It takes listeners to the Adelaide Hills, Bairnsdale, Braidwood, Cooma, Kangaroo Island, Mallacoota, Mongarlowe, Moruya and Omeo.
The series was created in partnership with the Judith Neilson Institute and the Paul Ramsay Foundation.
CBAA CEO John Bisset said: “Community radio stations are unique and valuable places for storytelling — as they draw their producing and presenting personnel from the communities served. In From the Embers, our production team were able to partner with community radio stations and their communities, to amplify their stories in their own voice.”
From the Embers returns for a second series
The CBAA announced in May 2022 that From the Embers would return for a second series, returning to several communities from series one, including Mallacoota, Moruya, Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island. From the Embers: Phoenix looks at the longer-term impact of the 2019–20 bushfires as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. The podcast will also visit more communities to share new stories.
Season 1 — From the Embers
- Episode 1, ‘Radio Saves the Day’ — What happens if a transmitter burns down during a crisis?
- Episode 2, ‘Home and Housed’ — The fires endangered millions of animals. Meet the people who tried to save them.
- Episode 3, ‘Mosquito Army’ — Just how far will a community go to protect their town?
- Episode 4, ‘The Fire and The Flood’ — People move to Cooma for the landscape. But in the summer of 2019, danger was lurking in the hills around Cooma.
- Episode 5, ‘The Records, The Pets and The Knickers’ — A fast-moving fire started in Cudlee Creek in the Adelaide Hills, forcing residents throughout the region to make critical decisions.
- Episode 6, ‘The Glowing Island’ — Kangaroo Island is the oldest bee sanctuary in the world and home to one of the last disease-free koala populations in Australia. The island was scorched by fire from two lightning strikes.
- Episode 7, ‘Shelter at the Beach’ — On New Years Day, day turned to night as bushfires descended on the coastal town of Mallacoota.
- Episode 8, ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ — What does a “properly defended” house look like?
- Episode 9, ‘Bird in the Sky’ — The roads to Omeo were closed as fires surged towards the small East Gippsland town. As locals retreated, Chinook and Black Hawk helicopters offered an escape.