Blaze Aid coordinator Laurie Dawson reflects on the 2017 Sir Ivan Bushfire

Honouring the volunteers: Blazeaid Dunedoo co-ordinator Laurie Dawson says the Sir Ivan Bushfire was one of the most devastating fires he has seen. Photo: ELOUISE HAWKEY
Honouring the volunteers: Blazeaid Dunedoo co-ordinator Laurie Dawson says the Sir Ivan Bushfire was one of the most devastating fires he has seen. Photo: ELOUISE HAWKEY

Although it’s been a year since the Sir Ivan Fire tore through the central west, Dunedoo BlazeAid coordinator Laurie Dawson is still in awe of the volunteers and local community who rallied together to help those affected.

The Sir Ivan Fire was the third natural disaster that Mr Dawson has attended as part of volunteer-based organisaiton BlazeAid.

“The Dunedoo fire was one of the most devastating I’ve seen. So many farms were affected, the losses were astronomical,” he said.

“I don’t know how some people will get over it…”

The total number of BlazeAid volunteers from February to September at the Dunedoo and Cassilis base camps was 1289.

Mr Dawson said some of the BlazeAid volunteers were there from the beginning to the end.

“They did a marvelous job.. they’re a remarkable group of people,” he said.

The Sir Ivan fire was caused by a lightning strike in February 2017. It was almost a month before the blaze was completely extinguished and it killed 2000 sheep, 56 cattle, 90 goats and 36 poultry.

Mr Dawson said the people he met while at BlazeAid for the Sir Ivan fire would never be forgotten.

“When you go through something like that together you just don’t forget… a lot of the volunteers made lifelong friends,” he said.

Mr Dawson was also in awe of the amount of donations made by people from all over the country, which included hay, financial donations and fencing materials.

“People just opened their hearts,” he said.

Mr Dawson said many were so personally affected.

“They’re struggling just to cope and not capable of doing anything else.. that’s where BlazeAid comes in – it’s mates helping mates,” he said.