Rushworth fireys return to the fire front

By Jamie Salter

Rushworth Fire Brigade volunteer Deb Thompson returned to NSW on November 20, joining about 90 others from across Victoria to fight the fires.

“You see it on TV and it’s massive but to see it in real life really hits you,” Ms Thompson said.

Ms Thompson was one of six Rushworth volunteers in the initial strike team, working as a second tanker driver and a firefighter.

She has been a Rushworth brigade volunteer for more than 10 years and was part of the team that drove the Rushworth tanker to the fire area on Sunday, November 10.

“We stopped the first night in Wagga Wagga, then went to Singleton for a few days and then on to near Taree,” she said.

“We were deployed to a town called Greta to help save some houses and we did that.

“It made me feel really good to know that we made a difference.”

Brigade captain Mark Jones said Rushworth’s tanker remained in NSW and the brigade was continuing to send crews to it.

“We’ve done a lot of blacking out and working on the fire front around Port Macquarie and Taree,” he said.

“We were based at the Singleton Lone Pine Army Barracks during the catastrophic day and went to the Greta fire.

“It was close to being Black Saturday weather.”

Mr Jones had been part of a strike team around Sydney in the late 1990s but said this was “a lot worse”.

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria chief executive officer Adam Barnett said CFA volunteers had stepped up when needed the most.

“Victoria is one of Australia’s most fire-prone areas and we rely on the sacrifice and dedication of CFA volunteers every year,” Mr Barnett said.

“It looks like we will have a long and challenging season ahead of us but volunteers will be working hard to keep us safe.”

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