Aoife escapes worst of bush fires

A Dundalk woman who was working on a fruit farm in New South Wales during the devastating Australian Bush Fires has described how the sky was thick with smoke and how the farm had to be evacuated due to the seriousness of the fires.
Aoife Heffron and her boyfriend Kevin White left Dundalk for Melbourne, Australia last March before travelling on to a fruit farm in Berrima, New South Wales where they worked until a few weeks ago. According to Aoife she and Kevin have since moved back to the relative safety of Melbourne because of the fires but even there residents have been advised to stay indoors due to the thick smoke enveloping the city.
Aoife, who is well known locally following her victory in the Louth Rose of Tralee contest in 2017 says she is proud of the Irish community who have rallied together to help those in trouble and is ready to volunteer her
services to help in any way she can.
“It’s simply devastating the destruction the fires have caused and continue to cause. Billions of habitats and animals have been lost and the koalas may never re-integrate back into the wild again. I was farming in New South Wales from September to December and during that time we had to practise evacuations and conduct fire prevention,” explained Aoife.
“One morning I woke in my little galvanised cabin to the smell of smoke and thought a fire had broke out on the farm, but it was just smoke from neighbouring fires. We were always out of harm’s way thankfully and never in any immediate danger but the sky would be thick with smoke some days which was so eerie and made it very hard to breathe. Just recently the farm had to be temporarily evacuated but thankfully they are all safe. We’re back in Melbourne now so out of the danger zone, however the city has begun to feel the effects of fires nearby as smoke fills the sky.
“They have advised us to stay indoors and keep pets inside until it clears. It’s been amazing to see the Irish community rally together to help this country that has welcomed us and that we call home. On a more positive note it rained Sunday evening and most of Monday which hopefully brings some relief to some of the worst affected areas such as Victoria, New South Wales and parts of Queenland.
“As an Irish person, I never thought I’d be so happy to see some rainfall. Hopefully it can keep falling all week and aid the heroic firefighters. It’s heartbreaking and horrifying to see all the damage these fires are causing and I really want to get out there and help. I am currently looking for volunteering opportunities to help in any way I can,” stated Aoife.

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