Echuca CFA volunteers to help fight NSW fires

By Ivy Jensen

ECHUCA and district CFA volunteers have joined a large-scale deployment to NSW where they will help fight the catastrophic bushfires.

Tankers from Echuca, Rushworth and Bamawm Extension, along with a couple of command vehicles from Echuca and Lockington departed to the Hunter Valley on Sunday for five days.

CFA district 20 commander Michael Masters said they would provide extra striking power for local crews given the catastrophic weather conditions forecast for that part of NSW on Tuesday, November 12.

“Local volunteers are crewing the District 20 tankers and command vehicles, with a total of 29 personnel from a number of brigades across the district,” he said.

CFA District 20 staff Bryan Suckling and Lisa Brettschneider will oversee on-ground operations of the state deployment from CFA of about 25 tankers and 125 personnel.

“The deployment is part of an increased level of support to NSW,” Mr Masters said.

“Victoria has been supporting Queensland and NSW with specialist crews for the last five to six weeks. Over the last couple of weeks, there have been on-ground firefighting troops go into northern NSW to crew the NSW vehicles. This deployment is the first for this season for Victorian firefighter vehicles to provide interstate support.”

Mr Masters said interstate and international support was commonplace during long periods of operational activity.

“This is to minimise fatigue of local crews and also bolster the numbers of troops on the ground for periods such as this when extreme weather conditions are forecast and conditions such as drought have primed the countryside for large fires to develop rapidly,” he said.

The volunteers are part of more than 300 CFA members who have answered the call for more firefighting resources.

State Duty Officer John Katakouzinos said in the midst of the ongoing tragic bushfire emergency in NSW, it was important for interstate firefighting crews to lend a hand to help minimise the damage.

“We’d like to thank not only the firefighters who give up their time to protect lives and properties in NSW, but also the families, loved ones and businesses that allow our members to assist with this emergency,” Mr Katakouzinos said.

“It’s important to recognise all our support members working to transport CFA vehicles to the bushfire areas and the resources working to assist crews to safely work on the fire grounds.

“It’s important we continue to work as one to take on the tragic bushfires currently gripping NSW.”