READY FOR ACTION: The Charleville Rural Fire Brigade are ready to head down south if they are called to do so.
READY FOR ACTION: The Charleville Rural Fire Brigade are ready to head down south if they are called to do so.

Charleville firefighters willing to head down south

DESCRIBED as some of the worst in Australia's history, the bushfires that have raged for months in New South Wales and Victoria have left firefighters exhausted, with no sign of abating any time soon.

Replacement crews from rural Queensland have already willingly headed south to relieve those tired firefighters and Charleville Rural Fire Brigade's First Officer Nic Swadling said if the calls came, some of his crew were ready and willing to go.

"We haven't been asked by the rural fire brigade yet to send anyone down however we are expecting it to come if the fires continue to roam for long enough that they run out of replacement crews," he said.

"I have had those discussions with my crew and there is a number of people who are keen and would like to go so we could field a few members.

"All our blokes are volunteers and they've got jobs so it would depend on who is available and can get time off work to go down."

When and if they are asked, whoever is available will travel south as back-up most likely for a period no longer than two weeks.

They might go down by themselves or they may take their fire trucks, depending what is asked of them.

Even though Charleville won't have the major fire appliance if is called away, there will still be six slip on units out within the area and enough equipment within the fire brigade to respond.

"It's all hunky-dory here and I have a really good crew beneath me," Mr Swadling said.

Heading deeper into the fire season the first officer said there were areas around Charleville that could burn but the situation would be dealt with if it occurred.

As always, he said, people still needed to prepare their properties and themselves for the possibility.

He suggested residents should clear around their dwellings and any personal infrastructure they wanted to save, make sure their equipment was operational and that everyone had a fire safety plan.

That sort of preparation would go a long way to ensuring the health and safety of residents, he said.

"If people do that annually then they are in front.

"A lot of homes burn down because of ember attack of their dwellings and if people are prepared for that they can go a long way to saving their infrastructure."

The fire brigade has about 42 members, 12 of whom are called to fight fires and the others being support staff.

Memberships are always open if you would like to lend a hand.

Charleville Western Times

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