RFS staff, volunteers step up in horror fire weather

Strike team getting ready to leave Forbes Tuesday morning Photo: Scott Baker
Strike team getting ready to leave Forbes Tuesday morning Photo: Scott Baker

Volunteer firefighters stepped up this week, and were ready to respond in extreme fire danger conditions.

Acting Manager of the Rural Fire Service Mid Lachlan Valley Team, Inspector Robyn Favelle, said she was immensely proud of the enormous effort made by local volunteers and staff over what has been a very challenging start to the fire season.

"They have continued to provide constant support to assist in firefighting efforts in the north of the state, even though many of our members have been severely impacted by the continuing drought and its associated hardships," she said.

The Mid Lachlan Valley team began to rally last Sunday as the forecast of dry, windy conditions became clear.

Tankers were checked and brigades were busy contacting members for availability.

A strike force of eight tankers was gathered, with 25 volunteers representing the brigades of Forbes Central, Cumbijowa, Garema, Greenethorpe, Glenelg, Weddin HQ, Greenethorpe, Parkes HQ, Gunningbland, Ormond Mungery, Bruie Plains, Manna Mount and Tottenham making themselves available.

Other brigades supported the deployment by providing tankers.

Volunteers assembled at fire control in Forbes early Tuesday morning, along with staff members Robyn Favelle, Jock Corcoran and Beth Slender, and headed to Orange ready to respond.

The Remote Area Firefighting Team also joined the strike team, providing additional specialist equipment and remote area firefighting skills.

"We had an absolutely brilliant response from all our brigades," Mrs Favelle said.

Brigades at home were also poised to respond quickly to any call.

When a report came in that powerlines were downed in Bogan Gate, three crews were on the scene quickly. Fortunately, no fire started.

With local RFS staff member Jock Corcoran as Response Team Coordinator, a strike team of volunteers from Mid Lachlan Valley and Canobolas Zone went on to Tamworth late Tuesday.

They remain on the ground assisting with fire fighting efforts in that region.

At midday Thursday NSW RFS advised there were 59 bush and grass fires in NSW, including 30 which were not yet contained.

They had 1200 firefighters working to contain those blazes.

Mrs Favelle asked that everyone remain vigilant over the coming weeks, and report any fires immediately to 000.

NSW RFS also asks harvest operators to monitor weather conditions.

The NSW RFS recommends the use of its online voluntary grain harvesting guide to help determine if it's safe to harvest.

This story RFS staff, volunteers step up in horror fire weather first appeared on Forbes Advocate.