Gympie heroes to relieve exhausted NSW firefighters

A FIRE fighter's Melbourne Cup Day was not all champagne and race horses this morning.

Volunteers from all over the near-Gympie region set out for Glen Innes, where they will relieve exhausted New South Wales rural fire crews, as wildfire continues to rage across that state.

"We'll be a relief crew and we'll spend three days near Glen Innes as we are needed," Wolvi First Officer Ian Beattie said, as he and his colleagues from all over Wide Bay enjoyed bacon and egg rolls for breakfast at their rendezvous point, Gympie's gold Nugget Truckstop.

"We'll know what's required of us when we arrive. They'll allocate our tasks once we get down there."

But that does mean the danger is over locally though, especially in western areas.

"Where there's been some rain, the green grass hides all the brown grasee, but that's still there and will still burn.

"We're back here Saturday at this stage," he said.

"About three weeks ago they had 12,000 people fighting fires all over New South Wales. I don't know how many people are on the job now.

"We all work under the same incident management system throughout Australia and in New Zealand, so we'll fit in easily enough.

"We had a few fires around here but a bit of rain over the past couple of weeks has helped. It would only take a couple of weeks of dry heat to bring all the fire danger back though," he said.

Driver Greg Ross, of Maryborough firm G and D Ross Bus Charters said he had just returned from a long charter and it seemed there was little relief from drought in many areas, despite rain along the coast.

Gympie Times


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