The summer of 2019/2020 was a period that residents of our area will never forget. It was harrowing for all of us, but for the members of WIRES it posed particular challenges. As the fires raged on, members of this group went into overdrive responding to call outs from members of the public about injured and dying native animals across the region.
With roads cut at short notice, their own homes often in peril and communication networks teetering, it was a gruelling time. Often when the carer would arrive at a call out, they had to make the difficult but humane decision to euthanise animals which had been badly burnt With animals in care, members often found themselves evacuating in their cars with joeys in pouches or possums in drays to take shelter when the fires were most dangerous. Some members lost not only their homes but the rescue shelters they had built on their properties.
For their dedication, compassion and teamwork, the WIRES Mid-South Coast Branch of close to 100 members was nominated by the parent Organisation WIRES as NSW Volunteer Group of the Year for 2020. Members were delighted to learn that they won the South Coast Regional Awards in July and now wait to hear if they win the NSW State Award on 3 December.
The NSW Award Committee noted in particular the dedication of this group which cares for sick and injured animals that share their local communities. They also paid tribute to the fact that WIRES provide a 24/7 response that was so important during the recent bushfires that devastated the region. More than 2,750 rescues were made over that period across the State , in the most dire and desperate circumstances.
Above: members of the WIRES group, with animals rescued and in care during the fires.