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Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Five of the re­gion’s Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice vol­un­teers re­turned from Queens­land last night, af­ter vol­un­teer­ing to pro­vide re­lief for Queens­land crews bat­tling long-run­ning bush­fires.

The group left De­niliquin at 6am Mon­day to fly from Wagga to Glad­stone (via Can­berra), then to Baf­fle Creek where they were sta­tioned.

Katie Nightin­gale, Kris Quar­rell and An­drew Wood from the De­niliquin Bri­gade, Gary Rus­sell from Moulamein and Adam Scott from Bun­naloo joined about 150 other vol­un­teers.

Speak­ing to the PAS­TORAL TIMES on a rest day on Wed­nes­day, Mr Wood ex­plained they were stay­ing in a mil­i­tary base style camp in tents and it had been ‘‘a real eye opener’’.

‘‘Just watch­ing houses burn­ing down with the land is ex­tra­or­di­nary,’’ he said.

‘‘The ter­rain is a lot dif­fer­ent to what we are used to, and it’s hot with high hu­mid­ity all the time.

‘‘To­day (Wed­nes­day) it’s 42 de­grees so that just gives you an idea of what we’re work­ing in.

‘‘High winds also make it very dif­fi­cult. The past two days we’ve just been com­bat­ing fires but to­day we’re work­ing on mov­ing peo­ple back into their homes and as­sist­ing them with what­ever they need.’’

RFS Mid-Mur­ray dis­trict as­sis­tant Terry Campbell said pres­sure had eased off fire crews work­ing against Queens­land bush­fires af­ter they re­ceived rain­fall on Tues­day.

He thanked the fire­fight­ers who re­sponded to the calls for help from Queens­land, say­ing the zone is ‘‘happy to of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties such as this to the zone to as­sist in any way we can’’.

‘‘Work­ing up there is a great learn­ing curve for them. Not only are they work­ing in a rel­a­tively dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ment, they have to learn the lay­out of their is­sued Queens­land Fire Res­cue truck and how the ma­chin­ery works, be­cause it’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent to the trucks we have down here.’’

The vol­un­teers had mainly been at­tack­ing fire hot spots, as well as as­sist­ing with as­set pro­tec­tion and fire breaks.

Mid-Mur­ray Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice fire­fight­ers (from left) Adam Scott, Gary Rus­sell, Katie Nightin­gale, Kris Quar­rell and An­drew Wood be­fore leav­ing for Queens­land on Mon­day.

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