Farmers are finding caravans, gas cylinders, washing machines and even a swimming pool washed into their fields since the floods.
Fire and Rescue NSW crews are using drones to help spot and clear this leftover flood debris in cane fields.
Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke was in Woodburn today, Tuesday, July 12 and said the drones were proving invaluable in finding debris strewn through cane fields, four months on from the floods.
“This sort of debris could damage farming equipment like harvesters and risk ruining harvest season activities which is the last thing our growers need after being impacted by the floods,” Ms Cooke said.
Two teams of drone operators from FRNSW’s Bushfire and Aviation Unit have been in the Northern Rivers to identify and map the location of dangerous debris.
FRNSW deputy commissioner Megan Stiffler said it was the first time the drones, bought with funding in response to the Black Summer bush fires, have been used in the flood recovery effort
“We conduct reconnaissance flights using smaller drones and if they identify dangerous or bulky waste material, we send up the larger (drones) which can pinpoint the size and location of the debris,” Ms Stiffler said.
“Once we process the data, we can send QR codes to the cane growers, which then provide them with real-time maps of their properties, identifying where the obstacles are located.”
The growers can then remove the debris with the help of Resilience NSW and the Environment Protection Authority.