Back from interstate blaze

A strike team of volunteer firefighters, including about 20 from district six, has returned from battling blazes in northern New South Wales. Another 10 district six centre volunteers have headed north to help relieve weary locals.

“People are tired; the Parks guys are tired, the fireys are tired, their equipment is tired, and the poor buggers have got a long way to go.”

Western district volunteers have returned from fighting flames in bushfire-ravaged northern New South Wales, while others have headed there to lend a hand.

Country Fire Authority district six acting office manager Byron Kershaw said about 20 CFA volunteers from district six returned on Thursday night, after providing much needed backup for local firefighters stationed in the centre of Grantham.

Noorat Fire Brigade lieutenant Con Glennan was the strike team leader for the crew, made from CFA districts six and seven, and he said the “absolute lack of water” and poor access meant tough conditions for firefighters.

“It’s big fires, its big country up there, big timber country, trees were falling down all over the place,” Con said.

“It was intense; we got a break line in to control the fire, though, which was good.

“It’s totally different terrain and very different firefighting, it’s much drier than I’ve ever seen down here.

“We’re well trained to do it, though; you don’t go away if you don’t know what you’re doing. I can’t speak highly enough of my crew leaders or my crew.”

Con, who has been a firefighter for more than 35 years, spoke highly of the communities affected by the bushfires but said they faced more challenges ahead.

“The community are really good, they were really nice, we were getting fuel one night and a bloke stopped and let us in, they were really nice to us – I think they were grateful we were there.

“They’re tired people, very tired people – they’d been fighting fires for a long time.

“It’s not stopping ‘til it rains now,” he said, “the dams are dry.”

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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