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Thursday, 05 December 2019 11:35

Victorian volunteers step in to stop fire spreading in NSW

Quick-thinking northern Victorian CFA volunteers nipped a spreading fire in the bud during their strike team patrols in New South Wales.

While hundreds of Victorian volunteers were deployed to NSW to assist with the firefight and assisting with patrols, backburning and community engagement, one strike team happened upon a new fire as it started.

The team included volunteers and tankers from Yea, Alexandra, Kilmore, Kinglake, Dookie and Strathbogie and was part of a huge mobilisation of support.

Yea volunteer Neil Beer said strike team members based at the Singleton army barracks were refuelling vehicles when they noticed the fire starting.

“We were going to fill up the forward command vehicle and were heading towards the main highway when we saw a puff of smoke coming up from the rear of a passing coal train,” Mr Beer said. “The next thing there were flames and there was a strong wind, probably 40-45 kph, and within a minute it had covered more than 100 metres.

“We were seeing this happen in front of us.”

The volunteers rushed to the nearby New England Highway where they met a traffic policeman who closed the highway and asked them to organise a strike team.

In the meantime, a NSW Rural Fire Service tanker arrived, allowing the Victorian volunteers call Singleton and arrange two strike teams to return to the blaze.

The highway was closed for about four hours. The fire briefly jumped the highway but went into a river flat area and stopped within about 50 metres.

“The concern was there was a fuel station about 200 metres away but it was kept contained,” Mr Beer said. “It was pure luck that we were Johnny on the spot to see the smoke and then the flames start up.”

Mr Beer said he was impressed by the efforts of Victorian volunteers during their deployment. “The professionalism of CFA volunteers really stood out,” he said.

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) CEO Adam Barnett said the quick action reflected the professionalism and high quality of training undertaken by all Victorian volunteers.

“All volunteers should be proud of their efforts in New South Wales and in their own communities every day of the year,” Mr Barnett said. “Incidents like this show why we invest so much time, energy and effort into improving CFA and working together to make it a better place to volunteer and work.”

“What we do aims to protect our state’s most important asset – its people.”

Learn more about CFA’s world-respected surge capacity on the VFBV website

Read 10120 times Last modified on Thursday, 12 December 2019 10:58
CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.