Rural firies ready for around the clock action

AS BUSHFIRES continue to burn around Burgowan and other parts of the Fraser Coast, our Rural Fire Brigade volunteers and coordinators stay alert and ready for action.

Rural Fire Service Area Director Tony Johnstone will spend Wednesday travelling across the Wide Bay for updates on different fires burning across the region, and probably won't make it to bed until 3am.

Over the past week he has put in an excess of 70 hours work and fire season has only just begun.

"It's a 24-hour job," Mr Johnstone said.

"Even when I was a volunteer it was a 24 hour job, I'm still passionate about what I do and I give 100%."

Even when he is not on the frontline, Mr Johnstone is thinking about those who are.

"Some nights I don't have a problem but other nights I have a restless night's sleep, I think about the crews that are out there and it does have its stressful times," he said.

"But it's also rewarding when I see the efforts our volunteers put in."

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One of these volunteers is Lesley Brand from Brooweena.

Lesley wears many hats in her community including the secretary of the Brooweena Rural Fire Brigade.

But she doesn't spend her shifts behind the desk- last Monday night she spent 10 hours helping build an emergency fire break on a property to stop a wildfire from destroying someone's livelihood.

"We got  there at 7.25pm and didn't get back until 5.25am," Lesley said.

"So the fire wouldn't spread as far, we took a dozer and cleared a whole bunch of trees and scrub and we didn't get back until dawn.

"We always have to be ready to go and it has been so, so busy lately."



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