Blazeaid legends replace 80km of fence after Woolooga fires
REMOVING and replacing almost 80km of fence in three weeks might make some cringe in pain at the thought - for Blazeaid's Woolooga team it is business as usual.
The group, headed by Malcolm and Vicki McIntosh, has literally been key fence builders for the region which was devastated by bushfires six weeks ago.
In half that time the group has wound up 59km of burnt and destroyed fencing, installed 18km of new fence, and served up more than 1700 meals.
Not that it sounds like work.
"We all get together and have a lot of fun," she said.
That fun is being done by 45 volunteers whose average age is 67 years and has come from all corners of Australia, including Tasmania and the Northern Territory, to offer a helping hand.
This includes, Mrs McIntosh said, an 83-year-old from Airlie Beach and (unfortunately sick and not working at Woolooga) a 75-year-old breakfast cook.
She loved working with them, but said she was also eager to have some younger blood join the fun.
"It would be nice to have the young ones because they learn the old ones aren't so old," she said.
Mr McIntosh would also welcome the help.
"There's a lot of work to be done," he said.
And the recent weather was not making this easy, either.
"We've got 65-70-year old blokes up there in the heat," he said.
Not that it was the only obstacle to overcome, with trees and rocks strewn across the ground to make life interesting.
But the biggest hurdle?
"The biggest challenge is getting uphill," he said.
At the moment, the McIntoshes expect their work will likely wrap up at the end of the month.
But Mr McIntosh hoped that would be extended; it all came down to how much work they had.
And that hinged on people asking for help.
"I'd just like them to get in touch with us to get their fences fixed," Mr McIntosh said.
He said pride was often the biggest factor in people keeping quiet, instead believing it was something they could just fix themselves.
The group's work has not gone unnoticed, either.
This week the Rotary Club of Gympie gave $12,000 to Blazeaid to boost their Woolooga efforts.
The funds will be used to purchase material for fencing and infrastructure.
RCG president Brian Samson said it was great to "to help BlazeAid again to support our own who are doing it tough".
Those who are interested can apply through the Blazeaid website, and clicking through