BlazeAid surpasses 500km milestone on KI

BlazeAid reaches 500km fencing milestone on KI, new camp managers appointed

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"BlazeAid is here till the job's done and till the phone stops ringing!"

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BlazeAid camp coordinators Maxine and Graham Norfolk at the Parndana Showground camp, with backpackers volunteers Kelly Geven from Stein, Holland, and Rikayla Baldin from Granite Island, Canada.

BlazeAid camp coordinators Maxine and Graham Norfolk at the Parndana Showground camp, with backpackers volunteers Kelly Geven from Stein, Holland, and Rikayla Baldin from Granite Island, Canada.

BLAZEAID volunteers on Kangaroo Island have celebrated the milestone of 500 kilometres of new fencing.

Parndana camp coordinators Greg and Ann Stevens this month handed over the reins, after landing themselves in the middle of the KI bushfire disaster on January 9.

New camp coordinators, themselves veterans of the KI campaign, are Graham and Maxine Norfolk.

Also retirees, the Norfolks are from Quorn at the base of the Flinders Ranges. They have been volunteering on KI since March 15.

One question raised at last weekend's bushfire community meeting was how long BlazeAid was going to stay.

"BlazeAid is here till the job's done and till the phone stops ringing!" Mr Stevens said, noting there was still potentially months of fencing work ahead.

PIRSA figures indicate 5500km of fencing once stood in the burned area, but it was not known exactly how much of this was destroyed.

KI lost close to 60,000 sheep, which remarkably was about 70 per cent of Australia's total livestock losses in the summer's fires.

First Kangaroo Island BlazeAid camp coordinators Ann and Greg Stevens. Photo Facebook

First Kangaroo Island BlazeAid camp coordinators Ann and Greg Stevens. Photo Facebook

Greg and Ann Stevens are happy to be back home in Adelaide after an exhausting five months.

They came straight to KI after coordinating the BlazeAid camp at Edithburgh on the Yorke Peninsula in November and December.

The peak number of volunteers living in the Parndana camp was 127, but this has fallen down to about 25 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The nature of the camp changed dramatically after the pandemic hit with older, retirees being replaced by young, mostly European backpackers, stranded by the travel restrictions.

Among them is Flo Boniface from London, who is travelling around Australia with her boyfriend.

"I have enjoyed it immensely and its been fantastic to see the progress being made in the two and half weeks we've been here," she said.

"When you get to let sheep into a paddock you've just repaired, it's a great feeling."

RELATED READING: BlazeAid fencing effort on KI going strong despite COVID

At the 500km milestone celebration on May 30, not only the volunteers were recognised but everyone who had assisted.

"Thank you to all the 647 volunteers who have made this possible," Ann Stevens posted on the BlazeAid Facebook page.

"Also thank you to all the people who have supported BlazeAid with equipment, food and vehicles etc. We couldn't have done it without you."

The BlazeAid volunteers celebrate the milestone of 500 kilometres of new fencing on Kangaroo Island. Photo Blaze Aid Kangaroo Island Facebook page

The BlazeAid volunteers celebrate the milestone of 500 kilometres of new fencing on Kangaroo Island. Photo Blaze Aid Kangaroo Island Facebook page

The story BlazeAid surpasses 500km milestone on KI first appeared on The Islander.

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