Local brigades play an important role

Bushfire brigades play an important role in our community, especially in a shire that covers more than 44,000km², and having a group of firefighters in relatively close proximity can make all the difference in a fire emergency.

NSW Rural Fire Service Superintendent Vaughn Elsworth said over time the response of local bushfire brigades has changed.

“While most are still there to respond to grass fires across the landscape, a number of brigades have also seen a pickup up in responding to structure fires and vehicle accidents.

“Given the intent to continue to bitumen key roads across all LGAs (Local Government Areas) the increased traffic will continue to keep those challenges to the fore,” Superintendent Elsworth said.

“Like many areas – brigades form a key piece in the relationship of the people within the area they are bounded by.”

He said our local brigades are now being faced with a number of challenges including: reduced numbers through absentee landholders; the sale of properties and larger landholdings; as well as some areas having an aging demographic.

“The result of this is that responses may need to be from further afield to the incident which results in a longer response time,” Superintendent Elsworth said.

A number of local bushfire brigades in the shire have recently held their annual general meetings. All meetings to date have re-elected their captains.

Paul Evans has headed up the Cubba brigade since 1996 and was re-elected; David Betts has been the Nymagee captain since 2005; David Snelson has served as Geandale’s captain since 2009; Bill Rogers has captained the Noona brigade since 2010; Euabalong returned David Gleeson as their leader (a position he’s held since 2012); Canbelego—Paul Geppert (2013); Cobar Headquarters—Peter Cartner (2016); Mt Hope—Roddie Forsyth (2017); and Steven Neate, who has first elected captain in 2018, was returned as Louth Road brigade captain.

The Tindarey brigade will hold their annual general meeting this week while Irymple and Kerrigundi will hold their meetings next week.