Assistance with bushfire clean-up
11 November 2013
More than a week into Operation NSW BUSHFIRE ASSIST, ADF members have already completed a range of tasks.
Eighty diggers from both the Regular Army and the Army Reserve have been working with locals in the Springwood area to ‘make safe’ buildings and trees damaged or destroyed by recent bushfires.
Lieutenant Colonel Rob Lording, Commanding Officer of Task Force Waratah Red, said that soldiers had conducted site recons, making buildings and trees safe.
“We have also conducted a meeting with Springwood Council and the Public Works Department with respect to drain and erosion control.”
Lance Corporal Peter Elliott of the Army Reserve’s 5th Combat Engineer Regiment at Penrith, and a builder in his civilian job, said local people were pleased to see the Army out in the community helping with the clean-up.
“It’s a great honour to be able to help where we can and really good when people come up to thank us,” he said.
“A lady and a small boy just came over from a shop to thank us, and when we sat the little bloke in the Army truck he thought it was great.”
Lance Corporal Elliott lives at Springwood himself and has experienced three fires near his home and said this latest fire burnt the fence and a shed at his son’s house.
Corporal Lester Meers, an Army Reservist for 30 years, left his job at Young, NSW, at short notice to assist with the clean-up.
“We’re trying to assist people who have been devastated by losing their homes, all their possessions and even their pets,” he said.
“We’re helping them try to rebuild their lives.
“Reservists are good at working in local communities because often they are part of those communities.”
The Task Force is working closely with the NSW Bushfire Recovery Committee to ensure that a coordinated effort can continue to be achieved.