Firies on rescue trip

Vince Cavongh, Paul King, Tony Killmurray, John Groves (crew leader), Richard Heywood, Peter Robinson (crew leader), George Worthington, Nathan Stubbings, National Parks and Wildlife Services firefighters going to Cooma in the state’s south, to help fight fires.
Vince Cavongh, Paul King, Tony Killmurray, John Groves (crew leader), Richard Heywood, Peter Robinson (crew leader), George Worthington, Nathan Stubbings, National Parks and Wildlife Services firefighters going to Cooma in the state’s south, to help fight fires. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

TEN Northern Rivers National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) fire fighters flew to Cooma in the state's south yesterday where a rapidly spreading fire burning since Sunday is threatening homes and lives.

The locals, who flew out from Ballina Airport at 3pm, have joined more than 300 NPWS staff battling blazes across the state.

Among the Northern Rivers contingent is Peter Robinson from Casino who said he was happy to help out but admitted to nerves.

Mr Robinson said they were yet to receive an in-depth briefing on the situation in Cooma but were aware that it was very dangerous.

John Groves from Uki, who has worked for the NPWS for 17 years, said he anticipated they would be staying for at least seven days to help local fire-fighters.

ABC Radio yesterday afternoon reported that the fire burning near Cooma had crossed the Numeralla River into the Kybean Valley.

Residents were being advised to urgently seek shelter and protect themselves from radiant heat.

Two locals have also left to work in the NPWS state operations in Sydney.

Northern Rivers NPWS regional operations co-ordinator John Fisher and ranger Stephen King have joined the multi-agency Incident Management Team (IMT) co-ordinating fire management across the state. The NPWS fire manager officer Martin O'Connell said the Northern Rivers NPWS had a total of about 50 trained firefighters in the region.

The rest are remaining at home to respond to any local outbreaks in the national parks.

"Currently the fire danger in the Northern Rivers is very high and it may even go higher," Mr O'Connell said.

Topics:  firefighters national parks and wildlife service

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