THOSE affected by two devastating fires that destroyed almost 3000 hectares near Orange in February will have disaster assistance funding made available to them.
Residents, businesses, councils and community groups who suffered at the hands of the Mount Canobolas and Belerada Creek fires which broke out in February will be eligible for funds under the Commonwealth-State Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
The Mount Canobolas fire started on February 10 and was contained on February 14, but not before it burned out 1671 hectares, most of which has failed to regenerate in the ensuing dry months.
The Belerada Creek blaze near Gowan, north-east of Orange, was almost as extensive, destroying 1276 hectares adjacent to Freemantle Road.
The majority of the land impacted by the pair of blazes near Orange falls under the control of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, but there were also privately-owned sheds and farming structures destroyed, as well as kilometres of fencing.
Financial aid will be made available for: people whose homes or belongings have been damaged; councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets; businesses, primary producers and non-profit groups to access concessional interest rate loans; and primary producers to access freight subsidies.
The funding will also be made available to residents, businesses and organisations in Bathurst, Cabonne, Muswellbrook, Narrabri and Gwydir, as well as other locations across the state, who suffered at the hands of fires between January and April this year.
NSW Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said “the assistance will also help with the operational costs associated with fighting the fires”.
“Significant firefighting operations were required in response to each of the fires, including the deployment of large numbers of firefighting personnel, appliances and aircraft,” Mr Grant said.
Further information on disaster assistance is available on the Federal government’s Disaster Assist website: wwwdisasterassist.gov.au, and the NSW emergency information and response website: www.emergency.nsw.gov.au.