It’s hard to forget the harrowing aftermath of the Sir Ivan bush fires which ripped through western NSW in mid-February.
According to NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) the ferocious blaze destroyed about 55,000 hectares, damaged 5700 kilometres of fencing and devastated 46 homes. It was declared a natural disaster on February 14, 2017.
In order help the local farmers and residents get back on their feet, Glencore apprentices and employees volunteered their time to help the communities affected.
As a part of Glencore’s ‘payback’ program, Ulan apprentices and mine employees worked to assist the BlazeAid recovery efforts after the Sir Ivan fires.
A Glencore spokesperson said the “apprentices and employees from Glencore’s Ulan Coal complex have responded magnificently to calls for assistance from farmers affected by the Sir Ivan bushfires in the local area in February.”
Working with the BlazeAid organisation, the Ulan team provided labour and materials over a three-week period to help rebuild kilometres of fencing destroyed by the fires.
Electrical co-ordinator at Ulan West underground mine, Daniel Nelson said the group initially went to visit the BlazeAid base camp at Dunedoo Showground to find out what they could to do assist those in need.
“We had horrific fires through our district with 55,000 hectares of land burnt out, over 5000km of fencing destroyed, as well as 23 homes, a church and 51 outbuildings,” Daniel said.
“When we saw what BlazeAid was doing to assist our local farmers and give them a glimpse of hope, we all wanted to assist.
“The decision was made to split into three groups of seven apprentices and over three weeks they all spent three days – two in work time and one Saturday of their own time – camping at Dunedoo and going out with BlazeAid to remove and rebuild burnt out fencing.”
For Daniel and the group of volunteers, apprentices and employees, BlazeAid truly is an incredible organisation and having spoken with local farmers, the hope and support their assistance brings is “heart-warming” to see.
The Ulan team’s work has been part of a combined volunteer effort that’s contributed almost 26,000 hours of labour, cleared 269 kilometres of damaged fencing and rebuilt 210 kilometres. The team’s efforts have certainly been appreciated.