In late January and early February three major bushfires burnt thousands of hectares in Tasmania. One of those fires was in the Huon Valley and affected the shooting range of Huon Field & Game. The fire came through the range not once but twice.
The first time it took hold in one of our outbuildings which contained traps and some firewood. It burnt to the ground and also melted the top of the septic tank attached to the toilet building.
A couple of days later, after a wind change, the fire returned to the area for another go, this time burning through 200 m of our rifle range, both sides of our DTL ranges and everything it could around the range including the large container we use for storage (melting the paint on the inside of the container due to the heat of the fire).
Luckily the fire fighters in the area managed to save our club house on both occasions which we are so very thankful for.
Due to unsafe conditions, only one member was permitted to go and check the range each day for damage, until clearance was given for four members to inspect the range after 11 am on February 9 when road closures were lifted.
When we arrived that day, the range appeared black and eerie. We spent several hours inspecting the boundaries of the range, signage etc. and establishing the extent of damage. We soon realised the gate at the entrance of the range had been damaged and we organised a repair the same day. We are extremely thankful to Jarrod Eaves, who after we made a phone call to him, dropped what he was doing and came with all the necessary equipment to fix the gate.
Next day, four members returned to continue fixing the fencing.
A working bee was organised for March 2 to replace the septic tank, signage, clean up burnt rubbish and complete securing and making safe the range so that the March shoot could be held the next weekend.
Another working bee was held on March 16 to clean up and remove the damaged outbuilding. We are extremely thankful to the Jarrod Eaves, George Eaves, Jono Price, Andrew Carr and Jason Abbott for the equipment and time they contributed to get us back up and running and to the other members who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes organising the supplies needed for the working bees and to the members who have turned up and helped on those days.
It goes to show how a small club can band together in a time of need and get things done.
Stephanie Fulton, Huon Field & Game