Three months on from Sir Ivan fire

The Sir Ivan Fire. Photo: Melling family
The Sir Ivan Fire. Photo: Melling family

The Sir Ivan fire might seem like a distant memory to some but for others the disaster that swept across the Warrumbungle Shire in February is still very real.

Councillors met with public figures at the Coolah Chambers on Monday afternoon to address problem areas and discuss where funding needs prioritising. 

Warrumbungle Shire Council mayor, Peter Shinton, said generosity of the public keeps the ball rolling three months on from the February 16 fire.

He said the work being conducted by BlazeAid volunteers in reconstructing fence lines is exceptional.

“Everyone is working for a cause to try and get themselves better established with fencing, getting their livestock back, and trying to get a semblance of order in their life,” Mr Shinton said.

“BlazeAid have done an exceptional job but the biggest problem we have now is that it’s starting to cool down a bit now and volunteers – being predominately grey nomads – head north for winter and I suppose we’ll see that effect shortly.

“They’re all still happy now but I think once they get that first frost on their nose they’ll start heading north.”

Coordinator of BlazeAid at Dunedoo, Laurie Dawson, said there is currently 45 volunteers working to clear and reconstruct fence lines.

“We’re still going flat out,” Mr Dawson said. “Our volunteers keep coming in and going out, changing over and we’re very close to having 500 volunteers through here so it’s quite a lot.

“I’ve just been out today looking at a property where there’s a fence that needs pulling out in thick, heavy scrub so we’ll need a bulldozer to get in there… It’s pretty rough territory out here, it’s not all smooth sailing.

“We’re quietly eating away at the elephant.” 

Mr Dawson said around 3500 volunteer days have gone into the project that is reflected in the clearing of 270 kilometres and construction of 170 kilometres of new fencing. 

Mr Shinton said the steady flow of donations – both funds and material – is being distributed across the fire ground.

“On Wednesday Ash Walker is going to bring down his donations of steel posts and wire that they raised the money for at a charity day in Armetree,” he said.

“They raised something like $60 or $70,000 and put it all into posts and wire, and a bit to the CWA and Mayor’s Fund.”

He added that an unknown company in the area will pay their staff to work on the fire ground on Friday, with the option of volunteering on Saturday.

“What a great gesture,” he said. “There’s so many people with great ideas of how to help and you’re seeing it all now.”

Fencing materials can be donated to BlazeAid.