A grateful region farewells NSW fireys at Bundaberg Airport
BUNDABERG has said goodbye to the New South Wales rural firefighters who answered the region's call for help to battle multiple blazes over the past two week.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Service acting Superintendent Ron Higgins farewelled the fireys at Bundaberg Airport this morning.
Meanwhile another handful of Rural Fire Service personnel arrived to return 30 fire trucks back to NSW.
"This morning we're saying hooray to all our New South Wales colleagues that came up to assist us in this campaign over the past week or so,” Superintendent Higgins said.
"Some of them went out into the fire to assist with backburning and firefighting operations, others were ready to be deployed in case any other fires started up in our patch, so we were ready for any contingent that came to us.
"They were exceptional - it's like any firefighter throughout Australia, we're all from the same team, and they've been very, very well appreciated here in Bundaberg and they've done a magnificent job.
Tarbuck Bay firey Lou Stanton, who assisted with fires in the Yandaran community, said he was eager to see his two sons, aged 11 and 19.
"You guys have been fantastic in hosting us up here and looking after us, but there's definitely no place like home,” he said.
"I'm pretty keen to go home, give my kids a hug and spend some time with family and definitely sleep in my own bed.”
He said that his youngest son had just turned 11 before he was called interstate and said he'd had enough time to give a present and a hug before he jumped on a plane to join the fight.
"I arrived Sunday afternoon - It was an immediate response up to the Yandaran community and then we were straight out protecting properties up in the Yandaran community, then all around Captains Creek and giving the boys a really good hand up there,” Mr Stanton said.
"The support from the community has just been exceptional so a big shout out to the community of Agnes Waters, Captains Creek, Bundaberg and Gladstone - you guys have been fantastic in hosting us.
"I look forward to working with you guys again, either you guys come down or we come up again.”
He said the NSW crews were used to dealing with fires similar to the ones that ravaged the region.
"It's definitely not seen up in this area but in New South Wales we deal with it every fire season so it was good to come up and give our northern neighbours a good hand and share our experiences with them,” he said.
Mr Stanton was one of 111 firefighters from the NSW Rural Fire Service who aided in the battle against multiple blazes between Bundaberg, Kingaroy, Gayndah and Deepwater.
Superintendent Higgins said the NSW crews "presence allowed us to rest our local people, who've been under the pump for at least 7 to 10 days”.
He said all fires in the region were now contained or extinguished and asked the community to help ensure something of this magnitude doesn't happen again during the rest of the fire season.
"This has been a fairly big campaign for the last two weeks, just be diligent for the future because these conditions and the weather will be around for a while yet, so we just need the community to stay safe and be alert.”
"If there are fires, ring it in quickly so we can get there quickly to make sure that it doesn't turn into one of those bigger fires that will go on for weeks.”