Volunteers help mitigate Pindimar’s catastrophic fire hazards in the Inaugural Minderoo Muster

Volunteers with Connecting Communities Australia cleared much of the fuel by hand.

A VOLUNTEER army mustered at North and South Pindimar from Tuesday 19 to Thursday 21 September, to prepare fire access trails before catastrophe strikes.

The taskforce included locals, Newcastle University students, and corporate members from Newcastle across the three days, and was formed by the Australian Resilience Corps under Minderoo Foundation.

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“Currently, 97 percent of funding is spent on ‘recovery’, with only three percent going towards preparation,” said Nadine DeSantis, Minderoo Foundation Advisory Officer.

“North and South Pindimar are Rural Fire Service-rated as ‘catastrophic’ for their extreme fuel loading, and their one-road-in-and-out situation,” explained Steve Carmichael, Bushfire Officer at MidCoast Council.

Through a pall of recent Hazard Reduction smoke, dangerous undergrowth was scraped together, to be later shredded by a giant mulching machine.

Connecting Communities Australia, the non-profit running the event with the Corps, also ran locals cooking lunches, while Pied Butcherbirds sang as they flitted in to feast upon the smorgasbord inevitably exposed by the rake-hoes.

“It was nice seeing so many people genuinely care about the environment, and all the hard work will make a difference,” Sophia Guadagnini, a student who volunteered all three days, told NOTA.

“As a local, I want to learn where the fire trails are, and I was amazed by the number of volunteers, great to meet like-minded people who care about safety,” said local Sarah Mischin, of Mischin Cleaning Co., who also volunteered all three days.

“Despite talk of delaying until next year, we felt it critical to do this before the summer,” Glenn Price, CEO of Connecting Communities Australia told NOTA.

“We are particularly proud of the work around Pindimar Fire Station, the access ways are clear and have far less fuel, and we intend to return next year.”

“Minderoo Muster is a fantastic concept, Wyree Street through to Nardoo Street access is now vastly improved, and clearing around the shed will make it much easier for people to assemble as times require,” remarked Pindimar-Tea Gardens RFS Captain David Bright.

Thank you to all the volunteers.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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