Northern Tablelands and New England RFS crews deployed to Albury fire ground

ON THE MOVE: The third strike force of New England and Northern Tablelands RFS crews has left to help fight fires near Albury. Photo: Supplied
ON THE MOVE: The third strike force of New England and Northern Tablelands RFS crews has left to help fight fires near Albury. Photo: Supplied

Despite having dealt with 640 fires in 132 days, volunteer firefighters from the New England and Northern Tablelands are preparing to lend a hand fighting fires near Albury.

Three strike teams of Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers from the region have been sent to several fire fronts across the state in a bid to help combat the bushfire crisis.

New England RFS district co-ordinator Inspector Liz Ferris said the crews were being dispatched to "return the favour" to southern crews, which had assisted during recent fires in the region.

"We've had three teams of 10 volunteers from the New England and Northern Tablelands regions head off to southern fire fronts in recent days," Inspector Ferris told the Times.

"The most recent team to depart was strike force Charlie, which is off to Albury.

"Strike Force Bravo returns today [Monday] after having done some really good work, and Strike Force Alpha came back earlier last week.

"A lot of the crews from down south came and helped us when we were flat out fighting fires, so now it's our turn to lend a hand."

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Recent rain throughout the region has provided enough assistance for crews to contain remaining fires and shift their attention to assisting in other firefighting operations.

"We've been pretty lucky to get some really good rain recently ... which means all of the fires we had been dealing with are now under control," Inspector Ferris said.

"I know a lot of the southern areas weren't so lucky with the rain, which has prompted the call for assistance from crews such as ours.

"Now we are in a much better position, our volunteers are more than happy to chip in."

Inspector Ferris said frontline firefighters and behind-the-scenes crew members were among the strike force teams bound for the southern fire fronts.

"Everyone has been very willing to put their hand up and offer to lend a hand, which is always nice to see," she said.

"I think everyone understands it's about give and take - so when we do have a opportunity to chip in and help in other places, all our volunteers jump at the chance.

"However, being able to volunteer for five to 10 days at a time would not be possible without the support of employers, who allow the time off required for people to volunteer."

This story Local fire crews ready to pitch in and 'return the favour' first appeared on The Inverell Times.

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