Fire strike team turn up the heat
FRESH from battling a devastating house fire near his home at The Channon last week, Tony Roden is among 13 Northern Rivers rural service firefighters who flew out on Saturday to help control fires near Narrabri.
While the volunteer firey vividly remembered fighting a previous bushfire near Narrabri where he walked into ‘a black wall of smoke’ near Mt Kaputar, Mr Roden said heading back west to fight bushfires was preferable to the ‘human tragedy’ and ‘toxic smoke’ of last week’s house fire.
Wearing heavy, hot gear, the 13 Rural Service firefighters boarded a plane in 36 degree heat in Lismore to meet even hotter conditions near Narrabri.
They will replace a team of 14 rural firefighters who were deployed on Wednesday along with two trucks – a heavy tanker and smaller striker unit.
The Northern Rivers teams will be deployed to maintain containment lines in the area’s worst fire at Sawn Rocks where firefighters have worked tirelessly to contain a fire which has burnt approximately 800 hectares of bush in the area of Bingara Road, about 40 kilometres north-east of Narrabri.
According to NSW Rural Fire Service Inspector Helen Carlos, the Northern Rivers strike team would focus on continuing containment lines at Diamond Swamp and Sawn Rocks as well as patrolling nearby areas of Boggabilla, Terry Hie Hie, Kerringle and Gum Flat Reserve.
“It will be hot and hard work,” Inspector Carlos said.
Volunteer rural fire service firefighter Pat Hayes, said his employer ETS Vegetation Management fully supported him in taking time off to volunteer. “The national company lost three employees at the Victorian bushfires.”