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Volunteers ply workers with the taste of home

Date

Stephanie Anderson

Gail Butt, of Young, helps locals co-ordinate the food and beverage supplies for the fire crews battling blazes near Bookham on the Southern Tablelands.

Gail Butt, of Young, helps locals co-ordinate the food and beverage supplies for the fire crews battling blazes near Bookham on the Southern Tablelands. Photo: Graham Tidy

Ten minutes from the blackened paddocks and rushing fire crews near Bookham, the scene was anything but chaotic.

Scones, slices and biscuits covered one table, while lace drapes kept the growing number of flies off the home-baked goods.

Everything was as neat and orderly as a CWA cake display, all to the exacting standards of Gail Butt.

The Young woman was in charge of the dozen or so volunteers milling about in aprons, taking in the donations from locals and relatives of those fighting the blaze.

''There have been a lot of donations,'' she said.

''The comdradeship here is amazing. They just knuckle in.'' It was so hot inside the tin shed that the butter was melting, dripping off knives and onto bread as people prepared sandwiches. But the 33-degree heat didn't seem to bother Ms Butt, who had been on the job since Monday.

Along with the local women, she had been feeding up to 350 volunteers a day in 12-hour shifts.

''There are volunteers coming in from Canberra, Hall, Sutton,'' she said. ''I think we've got to accommodate them.''

Karen Lees was among those on buttering duty, having left her property on Burrinjuck Road after the fire passed by.

''We're doing ok,'' she said.

''We haven't lost any sheep. Just paddocks and fences, thank goodness.

''We've been very fortunate.

''It was coming straight for us, then the wind changed. We were quite lucky.''

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