BlazeAid volunteers will be setting up a basecamp at Tenterfield Showground at the end of this month, spending their days helping landholders replace fences lost in the round of bushfires over recent weeks.
Farmers at community meetings following the fires voiced their frustration at being unable to contain stock after kilometres of fencing were burned out or damaged in the firefighting effort. They were informed that any reparation for the damage would have to come from their insurer.
Mayor Peter Petty on behalf of the community reached out to BlazeAid coordinators who have since researched the situation in Tenterfield to gauge the extent of the need, and to organise their response.
BlazeAid does not provide fencing materials but volunteers come with tools and equipment, and a positive attitude. They will hopefully be joined by locals to bolster the effort.
Tenterfield BlazeAid coordinator Eddie Bland welcomes any locals who would like to volunteer. They can go to the website at www.blazeaid.com.au or, once Mr Bland and wife Judy are onsite, get along to the showground to lend their support and boost the labour pool.
"The sooner we can get these poor farmers back on their feet, the better," Mr Bland said.
The Blands are based in Western Australia and are setting of on Saturday for the five-day trip cross-country.
A handful of volunteers have already registered, and Mr Bland expects more to come on board as the camp sets up. He anticipates many will come down from northern Queensland after doing their stint to help out with the floods.
"A lot of them just follow the BlazeAid camps," Mr Bland said.
Camps can continue to operate for up to three months, depending on the need. Catering for the large group over an extended period of time is a huge challenge, but Mr Bland been told that Tenterfield clubs and community groups are lining up to help.
Landowners requiring BlazeAid help with their fencing need to register with Tenterfield Shire Council. The BlazeAid coordinators and council staff will then cooperate on prioritising the work to be done.