Mount Isa firies say NSW blaze 'the worst ever seen'

NSW fires 'the worst ever seen' say volunteer Mount Isa firies

HEROES: Kim Smith, Gavin Donnelly and Kris Smith back at the Mount Isa fire brigade station. Photo: Aidan Green.

HEROES: Kim Smith, Gavin Donnelly and Kris Smith back at the Mount Isa fire brigade station. Photo: Aidan Green.


Mount Isa firies have returned from the south coast of New South Wales to detail the bushfire situation as 'the worst thing they have ever seen'.


Mount Isa firies say the bushfire situation in New South Wales' South Coast region was "the worst thing they have ever seen".

Kim Smith, Gavin Donnelly and Kris Smith left Mount Isa on January 8 and returned on Tuesday, January 14, spending three days on the front lines along with days of travel to one of the more fierce fires located at Nowra, two hours south of Sydney.

Gavin Donnelly said Nowra was completely smashed by the fires.

"It looks shocking, it's the worst thing I have ever seen in all of my history as a firefighter," Mr Donnelly said.

Kim Smith said their role was mostly support for the main firefighters.

"We blackened out a lot of the area to make sure nothing flared up again, we also spoke with the community and gave them support wherever we could," Ms Smith said.

"I think the locals are starting to come to terms with just how bad the fires have been. There has been so much help sent in not just from Australia but also internationally as well."

Kris Smith said there was no vegetation in sight.

"Down in the valley where it had swept through there was nothing, no leaves, sticks, twigs or animals just scorched earth," Mr Smith said.

"The worst part was the homes that were completely burnt down."

Kim Smith said New South Wales was looking at a possible two or three more deployments from interstate.

"The state was after more help but thankfully it has started to rain down there," Ms Smith said.

"The rain is really good, the Australian bush needs fire to regenerate and unfortunately people live close to the bush these days.

"The fires get a lot more attention now with social media and the speed at which news gets around these days but fire is not new for Australia and we must be ready for when they come again.

"We are very grateful to our employers for allowing us the time off to go and fight the fires."

A total of 54 volunteers were sent from Queensland with around 18 from North Queensland.

First officer Gaven Bunker said he has about 20 members in Mount Isa so should anything happen they have enough numbers to keep everyone safe.


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