FOR the past 10 days, up to 400 firefighters and have been working to control the Kentbruck blaze.
While some emergency services personnel have relied on hotels in Portland, Mt Gambier and Hamilton for accommodation, hundreds are calling the Heywood Sports Park home.
Since last Monday, eight Department of Sustainability and Environment employees from Melbourne have been organising and constructing the make-shift home on the Heywood Pony Club’s paddocks, with the help of more than 20 Portland contractors.
By Thursday 220 tents had been pitched and another 280 went up before the weekend to house 500 workers as firefighting efforts increased to control the blaze.
“We like to use people from the local community just to get some business and money back into the local communities while we’re here,” base camp manager Patrice Gorman said.
The campsite also means firefighters can get to the front-line as quickly as possible, and hotels are freed up for any residents that may need to be evacuated from homes.
As well as accommodation, the camp has 20 toilets, 18 hot showers and a portable kitchen making meals for more than 900 people involved in the firefighting effort.
“That’s three meals a day being cooked in the kitchens, the crews eat here at camp or we prepare their meals and take them out to the line in hot-packs,” Ms Gorman said.
Read more in Monday’s Portland Observer.