Macarthur community rallies behind firefighters

Macarthur is a community known for its generosity and philanthropic nature.

So when disaster struck parts of Wollondilly last week it wasn't long before the community stepped up to give the region's firefighters a helping hand.

Firies have spent nearly two weeks working to contain the Green Wattle Creek fire (now downgraded to Advice from Watch and Act) - an out-of-control blaze burning in the Burragorang Valley.

The fire has come close to towns including Warragamba, Werombi, The Oaks, Oakdale and Orangeville.

The Oaks Rural Fire Brigade became a base for many of Sydney's fire fighting forces over the past couple of weeks.

They took to Facebook to thank the community for their support - including generous donations of Krispy Kreme donuts.

"The station has hosted many different brigades and agencies over the past two weeks and there is still a little more to go," the post read.

"The Oaks airport also hosted the RFS Aviation base during their fire fighting efforts.

"The abundance of food, beverages and amenities that have been donated so far has been absolutely overwhelming.

"From families to businesses, we cannot thank you enough for what you have done to support us.

"Our brigade station has been a 24-hour operation for a few nights now and the support from the community and families of the volunteers has made it all possible.

"As our hire fridges and stores are now very full, we would like to ask our supporters and communities to kindly consider a financial donation in lieu of food and drinks.

Firefighters struggled to continue the huge blaze at Orangeville last week. Picture: Nick Moir

Firefighters struggled to continue the huge blaze at Orangeville last week. Picture: Nick Moir

"This will allow The Oaks brigade to purchase much needed equipment for our frontline members and also replace essential equipment damaged during our fire fighting efforts."

Oakdale RFS also posted on Facebook about the community's ongoing support throughout the past week.

"We've received some amazing deliveries - home made quiches and sandwiches, water, Powerade, lip balm, hand cream, wipes, nurofen [and more]," the post said.

"We've also received a chest freezer which is already working full steam.

"Whilst we don't often ask for donations they are greatly received and appreciated."

Narellan Rural Fire Brigade members also took to Facebook to thank locals for their support.

"We want to thank the local community for the tremendous support shown these past few weeks with so many snacks, drinks and toiletries dropped off to the station," the post said.

"Also to the families of our members we want to say thank you for your support and sorry that we haven't been able to spend as much time as normal with you all."

Thirlmere Volunteer Rural Fire Brigade said on Facebook that their members were overwhelmed by the kindness of Macarthur residents.

"We also want to take the opportunity to say a massive thank you to our community for the very kind donations you have all bought in, we have received everything from lip Gloss to toilet paper," the post said.

"The generosity of the community has been touching to say the least. Every single member has been overwhelmed by the community spirit."

Other brigades including Buxton, Orangeville/Werombi, Camden, Camden West, Illawarra, Southern Highlands and more have also taken to social media to express their gratitude to the community.

Residents can also provide financial support to their local RFS brigade by donating funds at the RFS website. Residents can name their local fire brigade on the form to ensure the funds are allocated to them.

Fires claimed one home and some out buildings in Wollondilly. Picture: Nick Moir

Fires claimed one home and some out buildings in Wollondilly. Picture: Nick Moir

Locals helping locals

A Werombi family has lost their home due to the fire.

A GoFundMe page was set up to raise funds for the Nobel family by members of the Campbelltown Collegians Hockey Club.

More than $18,000 has been raised for the family so far.

Locals have also reached out to residents in the fire zones via social media pages to offer transport for livestock, use of their paddocks or a place to stay the night.

The Oaks Hotel, Narellan Community Centre and the George IV Inn have offered free shelter to residents who have been evacuated.

Wollondilly Council has also set up its mayoral relief fund for locals to donate money in support of residents affected by the fire season.

Locals can donate to the fund in person, at the Wollondilly Council building, at an NAB Branch or online at: wollondilly.nsw.gov.au/resident-services/emergencyinformation/2019-fire-event.

Australian Government Disaster Recovery Allowance

Hume MP Angus Taylor is encouraging those affected by the bushfire in Wollondilly to apply for financial support provided through the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Allowance.

Up to 13 weeks income support is now available to those worst-hit by bushfires in the Wollondilly Council area.

"One home has already been lost, a number of sheds and more than 100,000 hectares burnt," Mr Taylor said.

"This financial support will help those worst affected by the bushfire to receive an income while they rebuild and not have the additional stress of needing to return to work to support their families.

"Locals in Oakdale, Warragamba, Silverdale, Werombi, The Oaks, Lakesland, Thirlmere, Buxton, Balmoral, Bargo and Hilltops are being urged to monitor conditions.

"I praise the incredible efforts of emergency service crews, the RFS and volunteers for their quick response and their continuing efforts in sweltering conditions to protect local communities from this fire."

Claims can be made at www.humanservices.gov.au/disaster or by calling 180 22 66.

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