Firies Dance In The Rain After Three Months Of Bushfires
After battling blazes for 12 weeks, the skies finally opened above these firefighters -- and didn't they love it.
For three months, the Northern Tablelands Rural Fire Service (RFS) team has battled upwards of 40 major bushfires but Sunday afternoon brought some welcome relief to the area.
Operations Officer Hannah Birkinhead’s shoes were soaked for hours after her celebratory rain run, during what has been the worst bushfire season in her 14-year RFS career.
Watch her dance in the video at the start of this article.
“It was heaven. The storm was building and we watched and watched, it went really dark then just poured with rain,” she said.
“All 60 people in the office stood out under the covers just watching the rain and every single person had smile on their face.”
However, the team remain on alert as the storm also brought lightning -- which the Climate Council reports is the most common natural ignition source for fires.
"Lightning is the downside but it was relatively minor,” Birkinhead said.
“Every bit of rain helps and this meant we could bring some of out of control bushfires under control and completely put out those that were still smoking."
"It’s a massive relief for our firefighters and gives them a much needed reprieve for a day or two.”
The Glen Innes region hasn’t seen much of the wet stuff in the last two years, contributing to the horror bushfire season.
“We look after the Tenterfield area and places like that and there are communities that have been very close to day zero [for water]," Birkinhead said.
Unfortunately, the end of bushfire season in March is far from sight, so Birkinhead says their strategy is to “plan for the worst and hope for the best”.
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“We’re always looking for volunteers even if you don’t want to help on a truck. We need caterers, radio communication, equipment logistics…there’s so many options for volunteering.”
As for the thousands for RFS volunteers who have been “smashed all year”, Birkinhead believes they can push through.
“Our communities are strong and resilient. They’ve faced tough times before and at the end of day, we’re all there for each other and can help each other," she said.