BlazeAid needs your help

Recently in Parliament, Member for Schubert, Stephan Knoll, spoke about the community organisation, BlazeAid and his recent experiences with them.

“One very practical way to get involved in repairing the community after a fire, is through BlazeAid. For those who have stock, the burning down of sheds and houses is one thing, but in order to maintain your business you need to be able to keep your stock from wandering all over the place, and fences are extremely important,” Mr Knoll said.

“I encourage everyone, if they can, to get involved because BlazeAid will be at the Flaxley Research Centre doing work on the Sampson Flat fire for months to come. It is one of those practical ways that those in the community, when they ask ‘What can I do?’ can make a real difference on the ground after the fire and subsequent media attention has moved on.

“BlazeAid is this group of mostly ‘grey nomads’ who appear from across the country and set up camp in this makeshift campsite. And day after day they give of their time and go out and repair fences. They also do a bit of pastoral care with the landowners who they go and help; they help rebuild their lives, and their fencing so that they can get back to a sense of normality.

“BlazeAid is such a beautiful organisation because it is pure. It is there only to help. It does not seek to get in the way. It gives of itself in a way that the landowner wants to have help. It does not prescribe what people need to have.

“BlazeAid, as a group, is so remarkable because it is ready to go almost as soon as the fire is finished. I know they initially struggled to find a venue, but are now housed down at what was the Flaxley Research Centre in Lenswood.

“I was lucky enough to spend a day going out with them. I took my politician’s ‘hat’ off and was just another member of the community willing to help. As well as members of our community I was working alongside people with quite diverse backgrounds, from backpackers travelling from Europe to a couple who were down from Queensland to some guys out of Northern New South Wales.

More than 158 people have completed 980 days of work for BlazeAid. There are 155 families registered for assistance, 43 projects have been started, 16 completed and 11 no longer required assistance.