A KANGAROO Flat couple has seen first-hand the devastation caused by bush fires as they helped farmers rebuild their lives.
Lyn and Stan Rasmussen volunteered to help Victorian farmers after fires ripped through much of Australia's east this summer.
The last of Victoria's significant bushfires was contained on Friday.
Mr and Mrs Rasmussen arrived back from Corryong, near the NSW border, 100 or so kilometres east of Albury, on Saturday.
They had volunteered with BlazeAid for four weeks in one of nearly 40 camps set up across Australia.
Mr and Mrs Rasmussen had helped farmers rebuild, mainly fences, after fires ripped through the region.
It was more than just physical repair work for the Kangaroo Flat couple.
The amount of fencing finished in a day didn't matter, part of the job was just sitting and listening to farmers, Mrs Rasmussen said.
"One of the farmers, his wife said, this is the best time [her] husband has had since the fires," Mrs Rasmussen.
"That was a lot of the comments that we heard in and around our camp of the evening. That the farmers actually had a reason to get up, because the farmers had someone there at 8am in the morning."
The pair heard some horrible stories. One farmer found 60 cattle dead against a fence. They'd been unable to escape the blaze.
Mrs Rasmussen remembers skeletons of tractors, scorched trees, melted vinyl weatherboards.
"Some areas you just stood there and heard nothing. There were no birds. We didn't see a kangaroo the whole time we were there," Mrs Rasmussen said.
But a green tinge started to come back into the grass while they worked.
Mr and Mrs Rasmussen joined BlazeAid after the fires. They had seen the organisation at work in Bridgewater after floods.
It was an arduous few weeks. Up at 5.30, breakfast at 6.15, muster at 7.15, gone by 7.30 to spend a day at work.
"You give money... you can't see it helping people. But if you're actually doing something, you get that feedback straight away from a farmer," Mrs Rasmussen said.
"It's nice to see that a farmer, he's got a paddock he can actually lock his cattle up in.
"You can actually see what your time is giving these people. There's nothing better than a farmer coming up and giving you a hug and saying thank you."
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