Meet some of the young, brave and experienced CFS firefighters helping our interstate counterparts
Today, the SA Country Fire Service is sending a team of 16 volunteers to New South Wales to provide much-needed reinforcements and relief to NSW Rural Fire Service as they deal with multiple bushfires in northern NSW, including a large fire near Glen Innes.
More than 50 homes have been lost across Queensland and New South Wales during recent bushfires and, while conditions have eased for now, there are still several out-of-control blazes in northern NSW that prompted a formal request for assistance.
A team of 15 highly qualified volunteers and 1 incident management specialist are heading east today, tasked with several roles including, strike team leader, incident management and field operations, including:
When not working on a dairy farm, Bailey is a keen crew member at the Strathalbyn CFS brigade.
For several years, Bailey has been swapping his cowboy hat for a firefighter's helmet and has already been involved with two other deployments to New South Wales - including the tragic fires of 2019.
"I remember arriving in Port Macquarie and it was chaos. The firestorm was like nothing I'd ever seen. We worked in the hills, near the coast and actually saved more properties than what we lost."
"At one point I was talking to a farmer about it all and then it really hit home. I'll never forget that experience," he said.
Hailing from Deep Creek on Kangaroo Island, Josh was just 15 when he witnessed the 2019/20 fires destroying three properties on his family farm.
"My dad and two brothers are CFS volunteers, and they were away on fire trucks, so when two lighting strikes hit our farm, there was only me and my mum staying back to defend the farm thankfully, we saved our home."
"During that time, I met a lot of the interstate crews and I said, given the chance, I want to help the guys that helped us, so the second we received the paging message, I put my hand up", Josh said.
Having reached Mount Everest base camp, the avid rock climber clearly has no fear of heights or taking calculated risks.
Robert will bring his 25 years of experience with the Happy Valley CFS brigade to the northern tablelands of New South Wales.
"I've been to Victoria, Tasmania and three deployments in New South Wales as a crew leader and as a driver.
"Each time I've been supported by my very understanding wife and the CFS which is all about serving the community and giving me opportunities."
"On top of that I work for the RAA in roadside assistance so it's just in my DNA to help others," Robert said.
All 16 crew members will fly out of Adelaide today and will be based at Glen Innes for the duration of the seven day deployment.