Firies update

Firies update

More than 100 south-east Victorian volunteer firefighters have so far helped to ease the fire threat in New South Wales and Queensland as part of a huge mobilisation of support.

Along with volunteers from across Victoria, about 150 from the south-east have joined the interstate campaign, another example of the strength of the state’s volunteer CFA system.

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) chief executive officer, Adam Barnett, said this reflected the commitment and readiness of volunteers to help in times of crisis.

“Volunteers play an important role in our communities every day of the year, but when major disasters happen their training, dedication and professionalism really come to the fore,” Mr Barnett said.

“To be able to give their time to help interstate is a fantastic contribution.”

VFBV District 27 president and Yallourn North volunteer Lance King was one of the strike team members and said the efforts had been appreciated.

“Everyone you drive past waves at you, it makes you feel like you’re doing something good for the community,” Mr King said.

VFBV District 10 president and Stratford brigade member, Mark Jones, returned home last week after a week in NSW, before returning to the fire zone this week.

“We did a lot backburning and dry firefighting with hand tools like rake hoes to build fire breaks, starting at Goulburn and then Wilberforce and then north of there,” Mr Jones said.

“There’s tons of work to do up there. It was extremely steep terrain and the fires were massive.”

Mr Jones also appreciated the community welcome.

“You find a lot of people tooting the horn and giving us thumbs up, which was nice,” he said.

The volunteers praised employers for allowing them time to contribute to the fire effort.

Crews from Bunyip, Koo Wee Rup, Nerrim South, Lakes Entrance, Bairnsdale, Carrum Downs, Mt Martha, Churchill, Rosebud, Welshpool, Traralgon East, Loch Sport, Stratford, Lang Lang, Heyfield and Yallourn North were among those from the region to contribute to the firefighting surge capacity.