An "army" of volunteers is expected to be on site at the Cobargo Showground within days as national organisation BlazeAid sets up camp.
Volunteer army: Dean Brunton and Andy Welch from BlazeAid "will be here until the last farmer is helped". Photo: Ben Smyth
Primarily known for rebuilding fences following fires and floods, the volunteers also "rebuild lives" camp coordinator Dean Brunton said.
Mr Brunton and administration coordinator Andy Welch set up their tent at the back of the Cobargo Showground on Wednesday, January 22, to begin taking registrations from those who needed help.
There have been countless kilometres of boundary fencing lost across the Far South Coast in the bushfires.
Mr Brunton said he and Mr Welch had around 150 people already register Wednesday morning following a public meeting, although a figure around 1000 was a likely possibility.
"Of those 25 are emergency situations, another 10 are 'health and safety' urgent like a tree over an entry lane or so on.
Mr Brunton said while BlazeAid uses a centralised national pool of donated funds, it will definitely have a focus on supporting local communities like Cobargo and the Far South Coast.
Repairing burnt and destroyed boundary fences is essential for farmer and livestock safety - and motorists'. Photo: Ben Smyth
He said as much as possible they would be sourcing materials through Cobargo businesses like the Co-Op and Sapphire Nu-Pulse. However, they also had national buying power to be able to source bulk materials like star pickets by the pallet load, and the ability to negotiate with both local and national fencing contractors.
"We will be a central point of contact now, with about 80 people here within the week and up to 150 as soon as possible," Mr Brunton said.
"Everybody wants to help while it's in the news and understandably after two to three months volunteer numbers start to taper as they go back to their own lives - it takes a toll on the volunteers.
"But the community should know we are here for the long haul, whether that's six months, nine months, 12, whatever."
"We'll be here until the last farmer has been helped," Mr Welch added. "This is a marathon not a sprint."
To register with BlazeAid, head to the Cobargo Showground bushfire relief centre on Avernus St, or call Dean on 0408 080 932, or Andy on 0459 135 784.
That also goes for if you are able to lend a hand and volunteer with the work needed. BlazeAid volunteers have a variety of skillsets but more hands are always welcome.
While the BlazeAid volunteer army is setting up to assist as many locals as possible, they need a hand themselves.
In roder to not impinge on the Cobargo Showground's relief centre facilities and supplies being utilised by evacuees, BlazeAid has put out a call for anyone able to assist in helping them set up camp.
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