BlazeAid volunteers in Wingham won't give up unless they have to

Volunteers at Wingham's BlazeAid camp are determined to keep helping local farmers throughout the COVID-19 crisis and are doing all they can to keep the camp going.

There are currently 25 volunteers at the camp located at Wingham Showgrounds and a work list of 340 bush fire affected farms still to service.

From midday Friday the volunteers are locking down the camp and self isolating with no new volunteers accepted and no locals allowed onto the camp.

"We're just going from the camp to the farms," said camp co-ordinator John Male who added they'll keep doing that until told otherwise.

The camp has called on MidCoast Council to recommend BlazeAid as an essential service in the hopes it will be able to continue to operate if further restrictions are introduced.

"I just don't want to leave," said John.

"Some of our farmers are still very fragile."

Many farmers are repairing their own fences but relying on support from BlazeAid to help remove the old fire damaged fences and supply new materials.

Unfortunately John is having trouble sourcing many materials including star pickets and he's worried for the mental health of the farmers.

"I just want to get the materials out to them so they have something to do."

John also has concerns for many of the volunteers if they're forced to close the camp.

Only seven of the volunteers have a home to return to in Australia.

The rest are backpackers from overseas who have nowhere else to go during the pandemic crisis.

"They can't go to a caravan park or a hostel, they're really stuck," said John.

John said the volunteers are not new arrivals in Australia but they hail from as far afield at England, Scotland, France and South America.

They are all eager to continue working to help local farmers affected by the November bush fires.

John's goal now is to keep the camp going long enough until the last farmer is helped.

"We'll give it a bloody good rattle," he said.

The camp has most of the essential resources to keep going including plenty of food and water thanks to community donations including fresh produce from Townhead Fruit and Veg in Taree.

"We're pretty good," said John.

"But like everybody else we're just a little short of toilet paper."