Just days after the Sir Ivan Fire burnt through nearly 55,000 hectares in Central West NSW, Luke Griffiths was there to help.
The 26-year-old Raymond Terrace man was an experienced rural fencer and had loaded his ute with all the tools he might need.
Little did he know Alicia Horton, 25, was also on her way from Bathurst to Blaze Aid – a charity determined to rebuild the 67 kilometres of destroyed stock fencing.
“I was put with Luke to clean up some logs,” she said.
“I didn’t want to at first, I didn’t want to be shown up.”
But she persisted and the two formed a productive team.
While he laid down any old posts she rolled up the wire. The two were often seen smiling.
“I looked back at one point, ‘where’s Alicia gone’? She’d fallen down a wombat hole and we’re still laughing about it,” Mr Griffiths said.
The scene was blackened when they arrived early March. Both described the smell of burnt livestock still hanging heavy in the air.
While they had a good time they more importantly helped out.
“I feel like we made a hell of a difference,” Mr Griffiths said.
So far volunteers have replaced 10km of fencing but there’s another six to 12 months of work left yet.
“The farmers are so grateful for what Blaze Aid has already done,” Miss Horton said.
After a week of hard work together Mr Griffiths asked Alicia’s father, Chris Horton, if he could take her out on a date.
“I’m a bit old fashioned,” Mr Griffiths said.
“What can I say? Sparks flew.”
The pair spent some time in Raymond Terrace this week. Mr Griffiths has secured work in Bathurst so the new couple can kindle their flame.
Is it love?
“I think so,” Miss Horton said.
Mr Griffiths added: “They call it Blaze Aid love, we were the talk of the camp”.
To support Blaze Aid or register as a volunteer visit blazeaid.com.