BlazeAid fencing effort on Kangaroo Island bushfire-affected farms going strong despite COVID-19 coronavirus

At the official handover of the Munro post-hole digger are BlazeAid volunteer Guilherme Marion from France, Kangaroo Island Lions Club members Tony Treble and Danny Lovering, volunteer Flo Boniface from the UK and Lions member John McEvoy.
At the official handover of the Munro post-hole digger are BlazeAid volunteer Guilherme Marion from France, Kangaroo Island Lions Club members Tony Treble and Danny Lovering, volunteer Flo Boniface from the UK and Lions member John McEvoy.

BlazeAid efforts to help rebuild fencing on Kangaroo Island farms are going strong despite the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The volunteers received a boost this month when they received a post-hole digger donated by the Australian Lions Foundation.

But the volunteers now find themselves short of transportation as loan vehicles have been returned to the mainland.

BlazeAid camp coordinator Greg Stevens has put a call out for anyone who can supply a vehicle, preferably a four-wheel-drive, to take four volunteers and a trailer out to farms. He can be reached at 0427 616 323.

Despite volunteer numbers dropping after COVID-19, there are a group of about 35 dedicated volunteers sticking it out at the BlazeAid Parndana camp, including international visitors, such as Guilherme Marion from France and Flo Boniface from the UK.

Camp coordinator Ann Stevens outside the kitchen at the BlazeAid camp at Parndana.

Camp coordinator Ann Stevens outside the kitchen at the BlazeAid camp at Parndana.

Donated and volunteer caravans at the BlazeAid camp at Parndana, Kangaroo Island

Donated and volunteer caravans at the BlazeAid camp at Parndana, Kangaroo Island

The volunteers are living in fully self contained camp at the Parndana oval, with their own kitchen and laundry, and every day they head out to as many as six bushfire-affected farms to repair fences.

"We'll be here for a while, at least until the end of winter," he said.

The Lions Club of Kangaroo Island meanwhile recently made a generous donation of a tractor-mounted Munro Engineering post-hole digger.

The donation was supported by Australian Lions Foundation chairman David Thomas and district governor Tom Kimber.

G & J East Kadina then generously donated the use of a suitable tractor for the fencing replacement.

KI Lions Club spokesman John McEvoy said BlazeAid volunteers on KI now the use of the tractor and digger, together with another unit that has finished fencing after the Yorketown fire.

"The use of the Munro post driver owned by the Australian Lions Foundation will be co-ordinated and operated by BlazeAid for however long it takes to help farmers in need on KI and can then be used in other emergency areas," Mr McEvoy said.

"The Lions Clubs of KI, together with support from the Goolwa, Victor Harbor and Point Elliott and Yankalilla and districts clubs, are supporting the magnificent efforts of BlazeAid volunteers, ably organised by Greg and Anne Stevens and Brad Lawrence and the band of volunteers, some who have been here since February."

Farmers in need of help should register with Parndana Recovery Centre to get on the BlazeAid roster.

The centre logs the task requests, matches it with which organisation is best placed to help, whether it's BlazeAid or one of the groups that had been active before the coronavirus such as All Hearts and Hands and Team Rubicon or even the Minderoo Foundation.

Any bushfire-affected resident needing assistance can also call the recovery centre on 0438 861 215 or visit the centre at 12 Jubilee Avenue, Parndana.

To discuss any recovery activities they wish to see, to call Rob Manton on 0435 568 170 or email KIFireRecovery@sa.gov.au

For the latest information on current relief and recovery operations, grants and financial assistance, mental health resources and more, visit www.dhs.sa.gov.au/kangarooisland

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