YESTERDAY, this brave group of men and women from across the region were stationed at the most volatile point in the Blue Mountains blaze.
At 1pm, the 19 Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers from Coleambally, Griffith, Whitton, Hanwood, Widgelli, Euroley and Carrathool were given just 15 minutes notice before they were deployed to the front line – the union of two vicious bushfires.
Fighting alongside the Wagga strikeforce at the Bells Line of Road, the crew battled to bring the combined Mount Victoria and Lithgow bushfires under control.
After the RFS contingent was dispatched on Monday, Fire and Rescue NSW also raised five crews to help fight the bushfire.
The FRNSW team left yesterday morning, while the RFS crew has been camping out in Penrith since Monday night.
Lexi King said predicted worsening conditions today meant the crews would be called on again to take over fire fighting efforts from exhausted volunteers.
“They’re based at the Penrith Panthers base station and they’re tasked from there,” Mrs King said.
“With the cooler night on Monday they were able to slow things down again but we could be looking at wind gusts of up to 100km/h today.”
The RFS crews are expected to back home by Friday, though Mrs King is preparing another crew to send if needed.
RFS Superintendents Kevin Adams and Jason Wall from Griffith have also been deployed to assist in the Sydney control centre.
Griffith’s FRNSW volunteers and staff have become part of one of the largest mobilisations of fire engines and fire officers in the history of the organisation.
FRNSW zone commander Andrew Cozens said his officers were in for an “intense week”, but they were mostly excited about the opportunity to practice their training.
“Because of the extended severity of the situation we need to relieve the crews up there,” Superintendent Cozens said.
“They will be deployed as needed and will be doing property protection, back burning and creating fire trails.”