ITHACA, N.Y. —Those wishing to help raise funds to assist with the recovery from catastrophic wildfires that have town through Australia in recent weeks won’t have to go far.

A benefit to help organizations that are assisting with fire recovery in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales in Australia will be held at Liquid State Brewing Company on Jan. 26 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Vicki Taylor Brous, a native Australian and Ithacan, recently spent time in the Dunns Road fires in the Snowy Mountains and was left wanting to give back to the fire-ravaged region.

“It was a heartbreaking time, seeing the destruction of forests, native habitat, and farmland, at an alarming rate. A shift in the wind meant the difference between saving and losing everything,” said Taylor Brous in. a press release Friday. “Watching for fires from my brother’s farm as they came over the ridge was terrifying, and they are still burning. We have chosen organizations that need emergency help and some that can help to bring business back to the community.”

A portion of food and beer sales at the event will raise funds, as well as through raffles to support the four organizations. Taylor Brous plans to distribute the funds raised when she returns to the region.

Traditional Australian foods will be available including meat pies, shrimp on the barbie, toasties (similar to grilled cheese), and the equivalent of the American chicken barbecue, the sausage sizzle.

Jamey Tielens and Ben Brotman, owners of Liquid State Brewing Company, have offered to host the event at the brewery at 620 West State Street and will be donating $1 from every beer sold during the event.

Bring your friends, because the event will also include a special Australian trivia competition including references to Australian Slang, unusual facts, and Australian music questions. Traditional Australian games will be played including toss the thong, cockroach racing (with mechanical cockroaches), and boat racing, a team event that involves beer, but no oars or boats.

“We are thrilled to be able to “koalaborate” on this event to support not only people and wildlife, but another craft brewery that is being harmed by the fires,” said Tielens.

The Dunns Road fire started from a lightning strike near Tarcutta in New South Wales, and has destroyed more than 100 homes and consumed entire towns. It merged with another fire to create a mega-fire that now spans over 2400 miles across two states.

The four organizations that will be supported based on participant raffle votes include the following:

  • The New South Wales Rural Fire Service is the world’s largest volunteer fire service with over 70,000 members. The NSW RFS is responsible for fire protection in 95% of the land area of New South Wales. Many volunteer firefighters have been fighting fires for months throughout the state. They are organized into 2,002 brigades and these funds will be directed to Snowy Mountains region units.
  • WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.) has been rescuing and caring for wildlife for over 30 years and is the largest wildlife rescue organization in Australia. They are passionate about supporting smaller volunteer organizations in the wildlife sector with the same mission, as well as Universities, Veterinary Associations and other leading scientific and environmental groups.
  • BlazeAid is a volunteer-based organization that works with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters such as fires and floods. Working alongside the rural families, volunteers help to rebuild fences and other structures that have been damaged or destroyed. Volunteers also help to lift the spirits of people who are suffering from devastating losses through bushfires. BlazeAid volunteers work in a disaster-affected area for many months, not only helping individuals and families, but also helping rebuild the local communities.
  • Tumut River Brewing Company is located in Tumut and this event will help to provide gift certificates to families and firefighters who have been impacted by the fires to spend at the brewery. The area is a popular summer tourism spot and many businesses have been impacted.

You can RSVP and learn more about the event on the Facebook page at Liquid State Brewing Company. To get more information, or donate a raffle prize for the event, contact Vicki Taylor Brous at vicki@Ithacaflair.com or 607-280-4490.

photos courtesy of Vicki Taylor Brous