Firies calling out for more hands on deck
IT'S not yet the height of bushfire season but already rural fire crews have had an insight into what's to come with fires at Bucca, Moore Park Beach, North Gregory and Branyan in the last week.
Despite 21,000 volunteers assigned to more than 80 rural stations and ready to respond across the Bundaberg and the North Burnett regions, the Rural Fire Service can never have enough assistance and it's never too late to lend a hand.
Branyan Rural Fire Service fifth officer Nathan Black has been a volunteer for eight years and said it was an easy decision to give back to the community and get involved.
"My uncle Gary Black was the station officer here in Bundaberg for quite a few years and I always enjoyed the stories he told me," he said.
"It's always something I wanted to do so I joined the rurals."
Mr Black said it was all about making a difference to those in rural areas.
"If it wasn't for us they could lose a lot of property," he said.
"Just this year alone I've attended over 50 fires.
"Our station has a 6000L water tanker so we also do structural protection."
Describing the job in the simplest form Mr Black said he "puts the wet stuff on the hot stuff" but in reality the training was a critical and the more people trained up the better.
"The team that we have - the instructors - are good blokes to get along with and they know their stuff," he said.
"When you've got volunteers that work full time they can't always drop everything and run to a fire so we can always do with a lot more volunteers."
With training running all year round, potential volunteers can sign up at any time.
Mr Black said there were even jobs for those who don't want to be front-line firefighters.
"We come back from a fire and our trucks are an absolute mess," he said.
"If people want to become support members they can just give us an hour a week and come out and help clean the trucks.
"Already our local brigades haven't had a day off in two to three weeks."
Mr Black said his fire safety tips for residents were to prepare, act and survive.
"If you're in a rural area make sure your gutters are clean because if a fire gets up in the trees there's the potential for people to lose their homes."