A WILLITON firefighter will be joining other self-supporting serving and retired firefighters from across the UK to help Australians rebuild after their scorching devastation.

From currently assisting with the devastation caused by storms Ciara & Dennis here in the UK, the group will then head out to work alongside Australian volunteers.

Ian Hall, aged 59, is a long-serving member of the Williton Fire Station crew is planning to lend his expertise to the Australian wildfire relief effort.

Mr Hall is hoping that his 35 years of experience and wide skill-set will make a difference as he works with the Australian charity Blaze Aid to help run camps to aid those who have lost homes and properties in the fires that have devastated thousands of square miles down under.

A fundraising page has been set up to help him raise cash to pay for the the trip which will see him travel as part of a small team for the first deployment of volunteers.

With deployment scheduled for the February 28, returning April 5, Ian will link up with the others at Heathrow airport as the only representative of Somerset.

“It’s a real privilege to be able to serve in this way,” said Mr Hall.

“I’ve been doing what I can for my own community for a while now.

"And it’s always good to feel that you make a difference, spreading some hope.

"The chance to put my skills to use in Australia will be really special.

"It’s been heartbreaking to see the news and to know that people’s lives have just been turned upside down, and the wildlife have suffered immeasurably.

"It feels important to stand with my UK and Australian firefighting colleagues as part of a worldwide family.”

With the whole trip being organised by charities and non-profit organisations in both countries, Mr Hall is having to find his own funding for flights, equipment, transport on the ground and insurance – while his family goes without his earnings for the five weeks he’s away, on unpaid leave.

Mr Hall has set a target of £1,850 to cover some of these expenses.

“With something like this, it’s a chance to help people who have been left with nothing - feels as if money is not the most important thing,” said Mr Hall.

“And we are asking if anyone at this end can spare a few quid to help me get over there to offer whatever help I can. I would be grateful for your support.”

In Australia whole communities, livelihoods and landscapes have been devastated. The volunteers are expecting to work 13-hour days, every day, helping people rebuild what has been lost.

“It does feel a little bit like I’ll be going as a representative of Somerset and the firefighting community in this part of the world, as well my family and my church. I'm so grateful for their encouragement in this mission.” said Mr Hall.

His fundraising page is here.