Grenfell volunteer reflects on her time with BlazeAid

Grenfell woman Anne Gault spent six days volunteering with BlazeAid from April 19, working out of the volunteer organisation's Adelong camp.

BlazeAid was founded by Kevin Butler in 2009 after the Black Saturday bushfire struck his farm at Kilmore East.

A group of neighbours helped him re-fence the property, a job which would have taken him several months but which the team completed in a week.

His wife challenged him to return the favour for his neighbours, and BlazeAid was born.

There are now over fifty camps around Australia and assistance is given after floods and cyclones as well as bushfires.

Just talking to affected farmers and their families can be an important part of BlazeAid's work.

During Anne's time at the Adelong camp the BlazeAid team worked on three properties in the Batlow area.

"I learnt various new things," Ms Gault said of her time in the BlazeAid camp.

"A twitcher is not necessarily a bird tragic; cleaning ring-lock does not involve soap; sighting a fence is best done on hands and knees, and most cogently and; all fencing involves the shedding of blood if you are really having a go.

"I proved very adequate at sighting a fence line but remained remedial at ring clipping and post lifting," Anne said.

The main source of volunteers is grey nomads.

However, student groups from Cronulla High School and the Yanco Agricultural High School spent time at the Adelong camp during Anne's time there.

"Volunteers work in teams of three to six people under a team leader who has fencing experience," Anne said.

"A cooked breakfast, two course dinner and the makings for a packed lunch are provided each day.

"Most people live in their own motorhome or caravan but a limited number of pods and caravans are available for use at most camps," she said.

Since opening in mid January last year volunteers in the Adelong camp have removed 561.3 km of fencing (3.6 km in Anne's week); completed new fencing 533.3 km (5.4 km in Anne's week); 62% of the 450 registered properties completed; total volunteers 1,230; total volunteer hours 15,997 (197 in Anne's week); average age of volunteers 50.1 years (Anne says she didn't help there ....)

"if you are interested in volunteering check out the BlazeAid website or I can try to answer any questions. The Adelong camp is less than three hours' drive away and there is a string of camps along the north coast hinterland if you fancy a winter getaway with a difference," Anne said.