Recognising our great volunteers

Guest speakers: District Coordinator Inspector Max Ryan and Assistant District Manager Inspector Guy Duckworth. Photo: Supplied.
Guest speakers: District Coordinator Inspector Max Ryan and Assistant District Manager Inspector Guy Duckworth. Photo: Supplied.

About 45 people attended a meeting hosted by Advance Gloucester to recognise the work of Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers during bushfires earlier this year.

The meeting highlighted the scale, logistics and commitment required in coordinating fire fighting and containment operations during the Giro/Barnard bushfire.

The presentations showed aerial footage of the Giro/Barnard fire as well as head-cam footage of the deployment of the remote area fire team and equipment in inaccessible terrain by helicopter.

Most in attendance commented that they had never encountered such catastrophic conditions before in their careers, with temperatures reaching 52 degrees Celsius and almost no humidity.

These conditions, coupled with substantial resources commitment to more heavily populated areas in the Lower Hunter, meant that local crews had to make do with what they had available - despite the Hunter threats being significantly downgraded in the interim.

Efforts: RFS volunteers joined with members of the Gloucester community to hear the issues faced in battling bushfires earlier this year. Photo: Supplied.

Efforts: RFS volunteers joined with members of the Gloucester community to hear the issues faced in battling bushfires earlier this year. Photo: Supplied.

This was combined with gusty variable winds to make controlling and predicting fire behaviour extremely dangerous and challenging.  

It is a credit to all involved that no lives were lost, very few injuries were sustained and minimal structural losses were suffered.

Superintendent Kam Baker was scheduled to speak at the meeting but flew out to Canada the day before to help lead coordination efforts in fighting substantial forest fires over there, accompanied by 50 other Australian fire-fighters.

Thanks must go to the RFS catering staff for providing supper.

Presentation: District coordinator inspector Max Ryan spoke about the harsh conditions faced by RFS volunteers during the bushfires. Photo: Supplied.

Presentation: District coordinator inspector Max Ryan spoke about the harsh conditions faced by RFS volunteers during the bushfires. Photo: Supplied.