BlazeAid vollies ready for the rebuild

BlazeAid vollies ready for the rebuild

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BlazeAid has headed to the Mid West and set up a camp at Yuna to help farmers and property owners restore fences after ex-Tropical Cyclone Seroja ravaged the region. Photo by BlazeAid.

BlazeAid has headed to the Mid West and set up a camp at Yuna to help farmers and property owners restore fences after ex-Tropical Cyclone Seroja ravaged the region. Photo by BlazeAid.

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The not-for-profit helps farmers get back on their feet after natural disasters, with a focus on re-erecting fences.

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TO help farmers who were hit hard by ex-Tropical Cyclone Seroja, BlazeAid has headed to the Mid West and set up a base camp at Yuna.

The not-for-profit helps farmers get back on their feet after natural disasters, with a focus on re-erecting fences.

BlazeAid WA co-ordinator Judy Bland said the organisation still needed lots more volunteers.

"We have about 10-15 people who have committed, but we need a lot more because we expect to be there for at least a couple of months," Ms Bland said.

"We'll potentially need hundreds of volunteers, depending on how many can stay and how long for."

When Ms Bland spoke to Farm Weekly she still wasn't sure how many properties would require BlazeAid's assistance, as they have been asked to register through their local shire.

They have set up camp at the Yuna Community Centre opening.

Volunteers will receive three meals a day in exchange for a full day of work.

"We concentrate on fencing and farmers usually supply the materials," Ms Bland said.

"If we get enough volunteers, we might help with other things on properties.

"And we can help with anything that is dangerous, like loose pieces of tin etc."

The teams work based on a priority system, starting with fencing to contain livestock.

Ms Bland and her husband Ed are Bridgetown residents and became involved with BlazeAid after the Yarloop fires in 2016.

BlazeAid Western Australian co-ordinators Judy and Ed Bland, Bridgetown.

BlazeAid Western Australian co-ordinators Judy and Ed Bland, Bridgetown.

"We had heard about BlazeAid from the Black Saturday fires (in Victoria, 2009) and then first saw people working with BlazeAid when visiting Queensland," she said.

"We thought it would be good to do when we retired and had more time."

Some spend their retirement slowing down, but not the Blands, who are the only WA BlazeAid co-ordinators.

"This is our eighth camp that we have been co-ordinators for," Ms Bland said.

"BlazeAid is a wonderful organisation to be part of."

Having worked in the agriculture industry for many years and with Mr Bland being from a farm, the couple has a passion for farming and supporting regional communities.

"We worked on farms as adults and I think that makes it easy to converse with farmers and relate to them," Ms Bland said.

"Farmers are often forgotten when there is a natural disaster because they are a resilient group.

"We are very pleased to help."

Ms Bland said that sometimes simply showing support and being a non-judgemental ear is all that farmers need.

"We've had some interesting conversations with farmers," she said.

"When there's a disaster in any area, farmers are reluctant to speak to the neighbours because they feel like their neighbour is worse off than them and they don't want to burden them and that becomes built up.

"We hear some lovely stories, some disturbing stories and some emotional stories."

  • To contact BlazeAid for volunteering, email blazeaid.yuna@gmail.com or call Judy Bland on 0427 614 546 or Ed Bland on 0427 614 540.
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