Destroyed buildings are seen in Cobargo, NSW, Wednesday, January 1, 2020. Several bushfire-ravaged communities in NSW have greeted the new year under immediate threat. (AAP Image/Sean Davey) NO ARCHIVING
Destroyed buildings are seen in Cobargo, NSW, Wednesday, January 1, 2020. Several bushfire-ravaged communities in NSW have greeted the new year under immediate threat. (AAP Image/Sean Davey) NO ARCHIVING

Clarence Valley firefighters lend a helping hand

LATE last year when the Clarence Valley was threatened by multiple bushfires, fire crews from Sydney and the south coast heeded our call for help, and now our firefighters are repaying the favour.

On New Year's Eve a team of firefighters from Fire and Rescue NSW's Grafton and South Grafton stations drove one of Grafton's tankers to the Strike Team Staging Area in Orchard Hills, Sydney, to assist crews battling massive blazes in the south of the state.

Fire and Rescue NSW Grafton station officer Col Drayton said the two Grafton firefighters and one South Grafton firefighter will return on Sunday, and another crew will take their place.

Mr Drayton said yesterday afternoon that another strike team was pulled together and would fly down on Sunday.

"It will be made up of two firefighters from the Grafton station, one from South Grafton and one from Yamba," he said.

"We were called upon to make up a crew as needed. It's usually on short notice and we've got to keep availability up at all stations to respond locally. It's only when we've got full crews here that we send others elsewhere.

"We also had to organise another crew of four to put on standby."

Mr Drayton said while conditions were difficult, the fire crews wanted to be there and help those that aided the Clarence Valley recently.

"It's very scary and fatiguing, travelling all that way and working long shifts in tough conditions," Mr Drayton said. "We've had the same situation recently where we had crews up here from Sydney and now we're repaying the favour.

"Our firefighters want to go and the ones that can't go are frustrated they can't, but they've got other responsibilities."



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