Volunteers to help farmers rebuild

THE task of rebuilding is set to start in the Yass region after the flames have died down.

BlazeAid has announced it will be sending volunteers to the Yass and Harden regions, to help farmers rebuild their fences.

Founded after the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, BlazeAid organises volunteers to help farmers and families in rural areas with disaster relief.

BlazeAid President Kevin Butler said equipment was being sent up to a basecamp in the Bookham area, where fires burnt nearly 14,000 ha before being brought under control.

“The basecamp will run out of the Bookham hall. In the surrounding area there are 33 farms which have been affected and over 500km of burnt fencing.”

Mr Butler said BlazeAid had already begun work at two camps in Tasmania and hoped to start work at Yass by January 21st.

Mayor of Yass Valley Council Rowena Abbey said this was good news for affected farmers.

She said council would help with the cost of the BlazeAid camp, as it was important to start the rebuilding process.

 “Farmers are a resilient lot and while they have been doing well under the circumstances, the sooner we begin to rebuild the better.”

Bookham farmer Alan Ticehurst said the work has been non-stop, since fires raged through his property last Tuesday.

“We’ve lost about 850 sheep, so we’ve been very busy. We had the DPI come out and help us put down sheep and we’ve also been trying to get those that survived off the burnt ground.”

Mr Ticehurst said the community support had been incredible and that he was pleased to hear BlazeAid was coming to help.

“The fire burnt about 40km of my fencing, some of it can be saved, but the fences that were made of timber are completely lost. So there will plenty of work for them to do up here.”

BlazeAid’s Mr Butler said volunteers would help farmers rebuild at a fraction of the cost and get them back on their feet as fast as possible.

“With lots of volunteers working together we can get farmers back on their feet in a couple of months, instead of the nine months it could take them to do it alone.”

Mr Butler said volunteers would be under the direction of the farmers, who would provide materials for new fencing and decide what burnt fencing they wanted cleared or recycled.

He said volunteers were needed to work at the farms, prepare meals and help out with duties at base camp.

“The more people we have, the better. Anyone can help, whether it’s for a day, a week or a month.  As long as you have a can do attitude, there is a job for you.”

Mr Butler said donations of fencing or equipment were welcome and could be dropped off at Bookham hall once the base camp was set up.



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