An unprecedented demand for help following the devastating Australian bushfires is taking its toll

Marek and Lisa Smolinski are the only non local volunteers to arrive at the BlazeAid camp in Yarrowitch so far. Photo: Vanessa Arundale
Marek and Lisa Smolinski are the only non local volunteers to arrive at the BlazeAid camp in Yarrowitch so far. Photo: Vanessa Arundale

Historically within three days of advertising a BlazeAid Camp anywhere between 50 to 100 volunteers arrive.

Not so at Yarrowitch, on the NSW Northern Tablelands.

The Yarrowitch BlazeAid Camp is all set up, and local farmers have registered for help, but so far, only two volunteers have turned up.

At a meeting in Yarrowitch Hall, camp coordinator Greg Kirkham said the shock no-show was probably due to the unprecedented pressure on BlazeAid Camps and their volunteers.

"When we arrived to set up camp last week we were going to be the 16th BlazeAid Camp," he said. "We are now 23rd."

The only volunteers at the Yarrowitch camp are a young American couple on a two-week Australian holiday.

We decided we wanted to do something to help while we were here

Marek Smolinski

Marek and Lisa Smolinski both work in the finance industry and have just spent a year in New Zealand.

"I have friends in California who have lost their homes to fire and when we heard about these fires we decided we wanted to do something to help while we were here," Mr Smolinski said.

Yarrowitch property owners Louise Clarke and Erica Halliday applied for a BlazeAid Camp in the weeks after the destruction of the Blomfield Road community last November.

But, as a result of subsequent fires in the Walcha area around Nowendoc and Moona Plains, the strike team is available to help anyone in the shire who has had infrastructure affected by fire.

So far 13 farmers have registered for help, and three locals have offered to work with the visiting BlazeAid volunteers - when they arrive.

"No fencing skills are required as you will be working alongside the property owner, and you can volunteer for one day or a week - it's up to you," Mr Kirkham said.

"All fencing materials, camp food and supplies will be purchased locally to boost the town's economy."

For more information on volunteering or to register your property call Yarrowitch Camp admin coordinator Lorraine Hildred on 0457 235 270

This story BlazeAid wanted dozens of volunteers. They got two first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.