Wagga Wagga 4WD Club Blaze Aid March 2020
On the weekend of March 14 & 15, members of the Wagga Wagga Four Wheel Drive Club were very pleased to be able to support the Adelong BlazeAid camp and to again show support for those devastated by the January bush fires which smashed our neighbours in the South West Slopes, especially Adelong, Tumut, Batlow, Tumbarumba, Talbingo, Cabramurra, Rosewood and Jingellic as well as the areas around Tooma and Corryong in northern Victoria.
As well as the BBQ weekend, club members have directly helped out farmers with fencing, done an “empty esky” day trip, plus volunteered at the Wagga Wagga community evacuation centre during the fire emergency. Because Kosciusko National Park was also severely damaged by the same fire with many historic huts destroyed along with camp grounds and so on, our Club has offered to assist NPWS and Kosciusko Huts Association in the recovery effort.
Our weekend BlazeAid support took the form of purchasing and preparing food for a BBQ (meats, salads and desserts) for their Saturday night Family Night attended by BlazeAid volunteers and the farm families they were assisting. Planning and food purchase for this was a bit of a challenge because the number of attendees was unknown (anything from 50 to 150) and numbers change daily as people come and go. We catered for 100 knowing that any leftover food would not be wasted. In the end, around 80 people attended including 18 Club members. No one went hungry!
A big thank you must go to the 4WD Association for granting us $500 towards costs, the generous donations of Club members, and donations and discounts on food by our sponsors and other businesses.
In addition to the BBQ, we had also put our hand up to help with breakfast on Sunday morning. This required a chilly 5.30am start at the kitchen. Left overs from the BBQ were eagerly used by volunteers to make up their lunches, while a breakfast of bacon, eggs, leftover sausages, rissoles, potatoes, onion and gravy etc got everyone off to a good start for their day’s work – but not before we had to jump start a couple of volunteer vehicles with flat batteries. After cleaning up and packing up we all drifted off home (most for a well-earned rest I suspect), pleased that we had been able to play a small part in the fire recovery rebuilding effort for our community.
As a matter of interest, the January “Dunns Road” fire joined up with a big blaze that came up from Victoria. It had a perimeter of around 9,000km and severely affected over 900 properties with 182 homes lost and 8,800 head of stock killed – and that is just Snowy Valleys Shire! Of the 10,000km of fencing destroyed, 3,714 BlazeAid volunteers at the Adelong Camp have helped rebuild 105 km in the 2 months since the camp opened. With 221 farms registered with BlazeAid Adelong, there is a long way to go.
There are also a BlazeAid camps at Tumbarumba, Jingellic and Corryong. In addition to rebuilding fences, the moral and financial support provided to the communities is amazing.
I must thank our Club members for putting their hands up to help out. Our ready support for our community makes me proud. John Kent.