Local firies deployed to NSW

Lauren Caldwell and Silvana Linton. 200514

As New South Wales continues to battle an unprecedented start to its bushfire season, brigades throughout the Yarra Ranges are lending a helping hand.

Amongst those include Montrose CFA, which recently sent three female firefighters to help battle blazes near Grafton.

Silvana Linton, Lauren Caldwell and Krissy Dundas were deployed in late October and helped fight fires for about five days.

All three gave up family and work commitments to travel and volunteer on short notice.

“There was a message that was sent out requesting crews to go and it was on a Wednesday,” Silvana said.

“We were flying out on the Friday, so it was all arranged within 24 hours.”

Since Friday, three lives and at least 150 homes have been lost in the NSW fires.

Lauren said it was a glum environment to go into, but it was rewarding to help those in need.

“There were a lot of tired people, a lot of people had had enough of the fires,” she said.

“We rocked up to a fire and they’d lost it, it started coming out. We were able to just quickly jump out of the truck and put the fire out.

“It was good to be able to go up there and just be those fresh legs and those fresh eyes on the fire ground.

“And be able to lend a hand to the people who would come down and do the same thing for us.”

District 13 Operations Officer Don Tomkins said brigades throughout the region sent approximately 75 firefighters interstate prior to 8 November.

According to Montrose CFA, more crews were sent on 9 November. This included crews from brigades across District 13 such as Mount Evelyn CFA, Badger Creek CFA, Wandin CFA, Kallista CFA, Olinda CFA, South Belgrave CFA and Belgrave Heights CFA.

Mr Tomkins said helping neighbouring states is important while the capacity is available.

“Sharing resources across states and even internationally is vital,” he said.

“Queensland and New South Wales generally experience fire season prior to us so we have the resources available to deploy up to those states.

“As we come closer into our fire season, we won’t have the same type of capacity that we have today.”

Catastrophic fire danger has been forecasted for the Greater Sydney and Greater Hunter areas on 12 November, while large areas of the state are also forecast to experience Severe and Extreme fire danger.

Meanwhile, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has declared a state of emergency due to dangerous fire risk and forecasted conditions.