The long arduous task of refencing the thousands of hectares burnt out in the St Patrick’s Day fires in the south-west has begun and Blaze Aid is here is speed it up.
The volunteer-based organisation has set up one camp at the South West Go Kart Club grounds off Graylands Road, Cobden and expects to set up others at Terang and Macarthur to help farmers tackle the daunting job.
Agriculture Victoria has so far estimated that 2445 kilometres of fencing was destroyed in the south-west fires.
Cobden camp co-coordinator Christine Male said about two dozen volunteers had already begun clearing up burnt fencing wire and posts from fire-affected farms in the Cobden area.
She said the organisation expected to be working from the Cobden camp for up to 5-6 months before it completed the huge job ahead.
“We will not leave until we have done as much as we can for every affected property owner,” Mrs Male said.
She said Blaze Aid had received “an overwhelming response” from volunteers to help with the refencing task.
Volunteers do not have to be skilled in fencing but work in a team that includes someone who has fencing skills. They can volunteer for a day or for longer periods.
Mrs Male said while WestVic Dairy had been very helpful in providing details about farms that had been hit by the fires, Blaze Aid was keen to hear from all farmers who had lost fencing in the blazes.
Under the Blaze Aid program, farmers provide the fencing materials and Blaze Aid provides the labour.
Terang camp co-cordinator Vicki McIntosh said it invited fire-affected farmers in the Terang area to register this weekend for Blaze Aid assistance by attending at its camp at the Terang Racing Club. Ms McIntosh said farmers needed to register in person.
She expected volunteers to start work out of the Terang camp on Monday.