BLAZEAid president and founder Kevin Butler was impressed with the new base camp, Adelong Showground, when he arrived on Wednesday.
“It has a brilliant layout for a BlazeAid base camp, with plenty of room, and there’s beautiful people up here with it,” he said.
Mr Butler concedes that people in the Snowy Valleys have been shaken up by the destruction caused by such unprecedented bush fires.
“There has been shock and awe because of the fires,” he said.
“It is always awful; it always puts butterflys in my stomach, but that doesn’t help anything, I need to cut to the chase and help people. One day I will have my cry, but in the meantime, there is a job to do.”
The job involves setting up the training camp, training 100 to 150 coordinators , get the accredited and sent the to work in fire-hit Snowy Valleys areas such as Batlow and Jingellic and other places out of the area such as Cobargo.
Yesterday was the first training day, including three concurrent sessions explaining how BlazeAid works.
Mr Butler started BlazeAid after the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria in 2009, and like so many others, he’s never experienced anything like these current fires.
“They are of mega proportions,” he said.
“Nothing in our history, going back to the Aborigines compares to this. We have also had the severe drought and the next thing we will proably have to deal with is severe floods, which will be the icing on the cake.”
He believes the help BlazeAid will give to the farmers in our region will be a pleasant surprise.
“The farmers haven’t got a clue what we will do, but it will be great,” he said.