Firey back from Queensland fires
Rosa Brook firefighter Keith Scott returned this week from his role as part of a WA taskforce helping fight bushfires in Queensland.
The 25-year veteran firey was part of a 21-member contingent from the Lower South West zone headed to Queensland on December 1.
The volunteers were split into groups, with each having at least one local agency member to ensure local knowledge, as appreciated when fighting fires in the Capes region.
Mr Scott said the work mostly involved protecting vital assets and helping co-ordinate relief efforts around the Crediton State Forest area. “Fuel loads were real- ly dry and dense and the fire was raging in hard-to-access areas,” he said.
“The firefighting conditions were just as hot as we endured in the Margaret River fires (of 2011).
“The trees that were burning were big, thick timber in age-old rainforest areas and the fire was burning in the top tree storeys, which were often 50-60m high.”
About 100,000ha of rainforest and sugar cane fields were destroyed and the area evacuated.
“It’s terribly sad to see the rainforest absolutely decimated and the damage to assets such as roads is going to be worse as the rain comes in and water run off the fire grounds,” Mr Scott said.
“The experience served as a stark reminder about the devastation of fire and the need to be prepared.
“We say it all the time and I wish people could experience everything we see as firefighters to understand the difference of having a well-prepared property, versus an under-prepared property.
“It’s the difference of having a structure still standing and watching it go up in smoke before your very eyes.”
Other duties apart from monitoring spot fires and reassuring worried residents included keeping an eye out for looters. Rosa Brook Volunteer Bushfire Brigade captain Richard Moroney saluted his valued team member’s dedication.
“Keith is the Osmington fire control officer and has over 25 years experience in the bushfire brigade,” Mr Moroney told the Times.
“Augusta-Margaret River Shire volunteer bushfire brigades have a longstanding and proud history of doing our bit during times of need.
“Keith Scott has continued this tradition in volunteering to help our fellow firefighters in Queensland during a time of crisis.”
Mr Scott said his experience underscored the importance of landowners preparing their properties ahead of the coming peak bushfire season.
Firefighting veteran Keith Scott, second from right, with his Rosa Brook Volunteer Bushfire Brigade crewmates.