Team members from Professionals Mudgee volunteered their time last week to help out with the recovery of the Sir Ivan Fire that has devastated over 54,000ha of land and they’re challenging others to do the same.
Adam Woods, Ben Reynolds, Adam Sutherland and Grant McGilvray joined other volunteers at the BlazeAid camp at Dunedoo, who are there to help restore farmers’ fences and complete other jobs needed to support and rebuild the local community.
With 5700kms of fencing destroyed in the fire, a lot of which was uninsured, there is still plenty of work left to do.
Anyone can join in and help with the recovery effort. Volunteers don’t need to be skilled at fencing or be capable of physical labour.
According to Mr Woods: “It’s as much about the conversation as it is the activity. We found talking with the farmer was just as important as the work we were doing, a lot of these people are lost with where to start and as much as anything would just like to have a chat with someone”.
Volunteering with BlazeAid is easy to do. You don’t need your own vehicle or tools, just the ability to get yourself to the muster point where you’ll be well looked after, right down to the sunscreen, gloves, water and fruitcake. You can volunteer for a day, a week or for months, whatever you feel comfortable with.
Volunteers are encouraged to work at their own pace with no set hours other than the compulsory 6.30am breakfast and safety briefing.
The Professionals Mudgee team said they were extremely impressed with the people running and volunteering at the camp.
“They were so friendly and welcoming”, Mr Woods said.
“There seems to be such a great bond amongst these strangers that have come from all over Australia to pitch in for a good cause”, he said.
“Many of them have brought their caravans and are camping at the Dunedoo Showground where meals are put on complimentary, they are enjoying giving back to the community and mixing with like-minded people”.
Mr Woods said the day was full of laughter and was a great bonding experience for the Professionals team, and they intend to head back in a few weeks to continue to do their bit for the community.
He encourages other businesses, community groups and individuals to contact BlazeAid and offer their support too, however big or small it might be. With camps at Dunedoo, Cassilis and one about to open at Coolah, there is still a lot left to do and it’s important that the utter devastation of this fire isn’t forgotten as more time passes by.
Blazeaid is also running a pop up shop in Dunedoo. For further information: blazeaid.com.