News and Views

BlazeAid fencing training days in Esperance

Training in the latest fencing techniques has been rolled out in the wake of devastating bushfires across the Esperance region in November 2015.

The workshops were held by Waratah Fencing in conjunction with BlazeAid, and follow the loss of hundreds of kilometres of fencing.

Established in 2009 after the Black Saturday fires in Victoria, BlazeAid is a volunteer-based organisation that works with families and individuals in rural Australia after a variety of natural disasters.

The workshops for both volunteers and local farmers are just one of the community initiatives BlazeAid has introduced to support bushfire affected communities.

Christine Male has been involved with the organisation since it started and is currently heading up a team of volunteers who have been camping at Grass Patch, 75 kilometres north of Esperance, since just two weeks after the fires.

“We also help to lift the spirits of people who are often facing their second or third flood event after years of drought, or devastating losses through bushfires,” Ms Male said.

“Our volunteers work in a disaster-affected area for many months, not only helping individuals and families, but also helping rebuild the local communities.

“I’m extremely proud to be part of this wonderful organisation, and I see my work for BlazeAid as a good chance to pay back for all the good fortune that I’ve had in my life.

“We currently have eight teams (99 volunteers), as part of the Grass Patch camp, out in force pulling down and rolling up burnt fences. At last count we had pulled down 700kms.”

Waratah territory sales manager Michael Sala Tenna joined local fencing contractor Andrew ‘Sparra’ Tranter in providing advice and assistance to both volunteers and local farmers during the workshops.

“Safety and efficiency are obviously priorities in replacing so much fencing, so we have been running through the latest tools and products, as well as basic techniques for people who need them,” Mr Sala Tenna said.

“These include basic knot tying techniques, and the use of post clips, wire strainers and Gripples®.

“Farmers in this area have done it pretty tough, so we’re also providing financial assistance on replacement fencing material, to help out where we can.”

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