Welcome to BlazeAid – a volunteer-based organisation that works with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters such as fires and floods. Working alongside the rural families, our volunteers help to rebuild fences and other structures that have been damaged or destroyed.
Equally important, volunteers 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. BlazeAid volunteers work in a disaster-affected area for many months, not only helping individuals and families, but also helping rebuild the local communities.
Not just rebuilding fences, but helping rebuild lives.
“We asked you to come help us rebuild our fences but you guys have done way more than that, you have helped us rebuild our broken community. For that we are forever grateful to you and all the amazing volunteers.”
Maree Perkins, Monto, Qld, 2013 Floods
Perennial Seed Funding for Vic Fire impacted farmers
For Fire hit farmers registered at Victoria blazeaid bases only.
Fire affected farmers may be eligible for perennial grass seed to restablish pastures in those paddocks burnt in the 2019/20 fires.
Funding has been made available through a generous grant to BlazeAid by Bushfire Recovery Victoria with their two local fire recovery coordinators and some very high profile farmers and pasture specialists guiding me through this. Allocation is subjective and confidential to BlazeAid and the farmer. I am overseeing this initiative as on my own Kilmore East farm , I am passionately involved in sowing down to perennials, applying (natural) fertilisers with building feed wedges through big numbers ( up to 2000) of sheep on timed ( .5 of a day to 3 days) small paddocks (1 acre to 30 acres) around my farm of 57 paddocks for 20-30 day rests to grow double the grass than set stocking. Modern hybrid perennials like 5 year Shogun rye grass are being trialled over 21 paddocks and I am more than happy to hear of fire affected farmers looking at enhanced modern phalaris types etc, lucerne and clovers to sow down with. One size does not fit all- every farmer is different.
Successful applicants who have a history of perennial establishment prior to the fires and are advised by an Agronomist either independently or through their seed supplier will most likely endure less pain of my usual 500 questions and will go onto collect their own bags of seed direct at their local BlazeAid base about 5 days after being told their application was approved.
Hot fires burn more than just fencing etc. – it often sets back pasture production for years and farmers’ ability to financially recover.
This is where it is self evident that seed and roots were incinerated and ground cover is poor – leading to erosion and loss of soil , income etc. BlazeAid has always done fences to help farmer and community recovery and I am very keen on perennial pasture reestablishment for fire hit farmers becoming mainstream in blazeaid as well through our local blazeaid base model.
What to do now
Farmers wishing inkind seed assistance will need to send by sms a photo to me first of their paddock / ground burnt in the fires and then ring me on 0418530471 to discuss their current program and need for seed only. ( you provide/ do the fertiliser and sowing)
A total price for perennial seed to sow the paddock down is needed so ask your Stock and Station agent who supplies blazeaid already in Posts and Wire for this quotation as this will need to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
I will then phone the Coordinator to check out the bona fide of you the applicant and ultimately request that Coord to place an order at Blazeaid’s usual Stock and Station Agent. EG Elders Bairnesdale or say Ag Mate Corryong ( remember all local businesses will get a share of this business as BlazeAid rebuilding communities policy but those who give the BEST value, advice, care and follow up with farmers will receive multiple patronage from BlazeAid.
Once notified, the farmer can pick up their particular seed ( with your name on the bags) from their blazeaid base and it will be listed on the Farmers’ Materials Allocations’ sheet by the Coordinator. BlazeAid may be able to help even further with posts and wire and labor to help with subdivisional fencing for perennial pasture reestablishment.
The farmer will have 12 months to get the seed into the ground but immediate preference may go to those sowing now or this Spring There will be a several funding rounds announced on Facebook, website and even maybe local ABC radio.
Preference is for farmers who (have a history of) and are perennial seeding now or have plans to seed in the 2020 Spring or Autumn 2021. They will have some sort of best practice in Paddock rotation / Feed wedge/ Holistic farming culture so the perennial pasture thrives and lasts for several years – 20 years plus
Direct drilling or cultivation or aerial seeding or over sowing ( where success is likely) is fine- farmer pays for fertiliser and the balance of their seed needs that blazeaid does not fund.
Preference for phalaris, cocksfoot, clovers, perennial rye grass ( Shogun) not fodder crops – farmers must text me then phone /tell me the total cost quantity and type they want and rate per acre (eg 1000kgs of Pasture mix to sow down 50 hectares at the rate of say 20 kg per hect – total cost needs to be absolutely accurate so check prices and quantities thoroughly) Best is an accurate written quote from their supplier who also currently supplies BlazeAid with Posts and Wire on a 7-10 day bulk order basis.
Other Bits and Pieces about the Fire Recovery Perennial Seed Program
Seed order must be a part of the Blazeaid bases Weekly Post and Wire order so there is no extra admin work on Debbie Buttler in the BlazeAid office and is easy for the local BlazeAid coordinator or his/ her delegated pasture rep. to liaise with you
There will be no individual seed invoices sent to either you or blazeaid- blazeaid pays on the Monthly Statement but the seed component MUST be plainly identified as SEED by the supplier as BlazeAid must report back to VIc Bushfire Rec. and our auditor for the AGM and reports to Consumer Affairs Vic and ANCC.
Return / Keep handy empty seed bags or send back to blazeaid base and label bags with texta: EG Farmer Sam Jones of Buchan 0417235678 – then text / notify
Kevin that it’s in the ground and and we will have a BlazeAider to come and see how its growing and send me a photo (another part of governance to ensure there is no fraud etc)
Participating farmers would need to agree that a blazeaid rep would visit their paddock to inspect at an appropriate time when sown and to collect the empty bags.
Remember that the seed needs to be in ground by June 30, 2021
This First Round offer is only available until 5 pm Mon May 16 with confidential confirmation on Wed May 18th by phoning me Kevin Butler on 0418530471 asap
Seed should arrive at your local BlazeAid base for collection by you about 5 business days later
I expect that I will announce Round 2 applications et al will open a few days after this pickup time.
The Seed Offer Rounds will only happen while local BlazeAid bases are operating in your district because this is the only way we can ensure proper governance of grant and donated monies. There is no indication yet that blazeaid is winding up soon in East Gippsland or Corryong. Farmers in outer areas where BlazeAid has been and gone ( EG Omeo) will need to reregister with say Buchan their nearest base to be a part of this. Already a Tooma (NSW)blazeaid registered farmer with land in Vic has had to reregister with Corryong blazeaid so he can get seed for his Vic property.
Farmer needs to agree that a blazeaid rep may call and visit to see the pasture sometime during the next 12 months. Those farmers who fertilise and manage their pasture investment well will be earmarked for further support should fires impact them in the future.
BlazeAid helps farmers who are appreciative, needy due to fire impacts on their farm, grateful, involved ( have skin in the game and are hands on running the farm themselves and not from an office in Melb) , deserving, community minded ( they have a history of working with their neighbors with fire preparation/prevention and helping each other through tough and the good times)
( Remember you must be registered at your nearest Blazeaid base BEFORE you call me )
Bases at Bruthen
Bruthen AAA Coord Linda & Nick 0402186171
Buchan AAA Graham Coordinator 0477488434
Wulgulmerang AAA Coords Maggie And Paul 0417773065
Corryong BlazeAid Coord Bill 0408552768 Gerritsen For Wendie 0408 495 065 For Rob 0417 294 234 Also 0457 063 296
Covid19- August 23rd 2020 Update:
2019/2020 has been a challenging time for most, but particularly our fire affected farmers who have suffered through devastating fires, and now a world wide pandemic.
BlazeAid understands the complexities of the situation across Australia, and holds the safety of our volunteers, farmers and communities as paramount.
That is why, at every BlazeAid Basecamp we adhere to strict Covid-19 guidelines, as directed by Federal and State Government. We are proactive in the actions we take so as to minimise the risk in not only spreading the virus, but introducing it into a community that has already dealt with so much.
As the pandemic evolves, BlazeAid will continue to monitor the situation and prioritise the health and well being of our volunteers, farmers and communities – even if it means making informed decisions to temporarily close, lock down camps or cease accepting new volunteers.
If you visit or volunteer at a camp, you can expect to see some changes to our regular operations, including reduced occupancy limits, social distancing measures in place and other safety reminder signage as well as enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces throughout the day.
As has always been the case, our Facebook page and website offers the most up to date and essential information during this time.
As always, BlazeAid is determined not to give up, especially when farmers are most in need. We endeavour to continue operations in a safe manner, guided by the Chief Health Officer and continue to implement strict measures to ensure the safety of all involved.
COVID19 – May 13th 2020 Update:
BlazeAid IS Open Across Australia for Volunteering to help rebuild fencing after the 2019/ 2020 mega bushfires now! It is deemed an essential service and travel direct to a base is permissible in all states!
People wanting to help our fire devastated communities are asked to phone the Base Camp coordinator direct and ask about what they need to do to help. ( Bruthen Vic is the only exception being under DELWP restrictions with caravan parks)
For our city cousins, major shopping centres in Melbourne ( eg Northland) Sydney and ADELAIDE now have free testing for Covid and if you are from the city, BlazeAid strongly urges you to get yourself tested and stay in isolation while awaiting results please.
Simply Google ‘Covid testing shopping centres’ will give you locations ensuring you are free of the virus before coming to BlazeAid
The COVIDSafe app is easy to download and you are strongly encouraged to have it before coming to any blazeaid camp.
Social distancing, washing hands regularly and disinfecting toilet door handles etc and wearing masks (if you are near others) are mainstream in blazeaid camps so please help us keep this culture going.
Please be aware that you will he asked several questions by the base camp coordinator to ascertain whether you are a low risk to other blazeaid volunteers. Preference will be given to vols who say they will stay for a long period of time or/and have their own van and transport out to farms
Blazeaid is still needing the loan/ donation of caravans, coats and cars (esp 4 WDs) – we are desperate for these and any help is appreciated. We can arrange pick up or post reimbursement as well as service clean insure vehicles.
There are 24 bases that have continued operating in a ‘social enclosed bubble throughout the crisis’ Check current camps.
and coming back now out of hibernation or new at the end of May are :
• Running Stream ( dorm accomodation)
•Hyden (WA )
•And Lobethal (Harrogate) SA Corryong and Newmerella ( Vic)
BlazeAid base camps which most urgently need keen volunteers are Buchan and Wulgulmerang (Vic) and Tooma ( NSW) – Call or text the base camp direct please
Fire impacted East Gippsland Vic farmers and Corryong farmers are asked to make contact with Buchan Bruthen Corryong blazeaid bases to discuss further gates/ post and wire assistance for internal fencing and new sub divisional fencing for stock rotations to preserve topsoils and to build up a feed wedge on their farms – there is quite a lot of assistance available for farmers who wish to put it up themselves (assessment by blazeaid first)
I would like to thank the BlazeAid Covid Team led by the outstanding Natalee Trigwell (Willawarren NSW BlazeAid coordinator) together with Christine Male and Helen Hickson of Adelong, Pauline Svanikier ( Switz) Bronwynne Livingston and Melissa Jones ( Melb) for just amazing continued support over many months in forming BlazeAid policy and procedures – without their work BlazeAid would have shutdown. Please thank them if you can – they have spent hundreds of hours and weekends with endless research and Teleconferences to get us to this enviable stage of reopening for returning, local and new vols.
Remember to choose your preferred camp, call the Base camp coordinator and ask your questions. If the camp is full , ask which camps maybe taking more vols.
At the Annual General Meeting held on 16 October 2019 the BlazeAid Committee for 2018/2019 presented by Dennis Livingston, Treasurer of BlazeAid, presented Co-Founders Kevin and Rhonda Butler Life Membership of BlazeAid. This award was in recognition of forethought to not only establish BlazeAid but also in sincere appreciation of outstanding loyalty and dedication to the organisation since 2009.
This award recognises the commitment demonstrated towards the organisation, including its volunteers, programs, activities and ideals.
BLAZEAID 10 YEAR REUNION
Was Celebrated in Cobden on the weekend of 2nd-4th November 2019 to celebrate BlazeAid’s 10 Year Anniversary. A Great Time was had by all who attended.
Rural communities in all Australian States
If you have been affected by a natural disaster, please visit our Fencing Help page for information about having BlazeAid volunteers working with you.
Please click here for information about How to Establish a BlazeAid basecamp in your area.
Click here to find us on Facebook.
Ian “Macca” McNamara is the Patron of BlazeAid. We thank him for his wonderful support in helping BlazeAid find volunteers to help with our fence rebuilding. ABC radio and TV have been invaluable in their support of BlazeAid since its inception in 2009. Hundreds of our volunteers have heard about BlazeAid through the ABC, especially on Macca s Australia All Over. We look forward to a long ongoing relationship with the ABC, especially with Macca on Sunday mornings.
Please check this website regularly for updates.
Not just rebuilding fences, but helping rebuild lives.