With New South Wales currently battling devastating bushfires, our local firefighters have answered the call for help and headed north to do their bit.
Crews from Caroline Springs, Bacchus Marsh and Ballan spent most of last week with their NSW counterparts, fighting the early season fires that have claimed hundreds of houses and torn through thousands of hectares of bushland.
Speaking from the scene, Caroline Springs firefighter Tom Ferguson said when the call for help came through on November 10, the group quickly mobilised and hit the road.
“We got the call through about 4pm on the Sunday, and we were in the trucks and rolling by 6pm,” he said.
“It wasn’t too bad when we first got up here. We drove straight to Singleton Military base, and it was ok but obviously very hot, dry and windy.
“We stayed there for the Tuesday for the catastrophic conditions that were forecast for that day, and it was a pretty calm morning which turned into a pretty hectic afternoon.
“Once the winds kicked up in the arvo we started to get stuff lighting up all over the place, so our strike team were quickly in action fighting to save some houses which we were able to do, and then regrouped over at Greta (near Newcastle) working on a scrub fire.”
On November 13 there were still over 50 trucks battling blazes in strike teams of five trucks in the area the Caroline Springs CFA was deployed.
The team moved up to Coffs Harbour later in the week to continue the firefighting effort.
Mr Ferguson said it was always good for firefighters from across Australia to band together to battle fires.
“The CFA is very organised in the sense of how we build our teams and the way that we attack these fires, so this is very similar to how we’ve done things in the past,” he said.
“We always back each other up and make sure no one gets hurt. We’ve had these events in Victoria and other states come to help us so it’s good to give back.
“As we always are at these events, it’s about working together. Everyone’s very welcoming, happy to chat, and we come together to act as one which is nice.”