photo credit to:TTI
Experienced farmers are an essential resource when it comes to fighting fires in rural areas.
During a bush fire. The guys and girls in yellow get all the praise for their efforts, and maybe rightly so.
Though there is a group. Who are not volunteers, that never seem to get a mention. This I know first hand being a volunteer and happy to wear the yellow to do my part.
The group who aren’t mentioned in the headlines. Or are even rarely seen in photos, are the property owners. They get out there and put their lives at risk to protect, not just their property. But the property of others. Without these men and women. The job of the RFS would be a lot harder.
These farmers have small slip on units on the back of utes. They use their own tractors and dozers, their own money to fight fires, and put themselves in danger to protect others. They are normally the first on scene and have little to no training.
Once the RFS show. They take control, which the farmer is sometimes hesitant to let happen. The farmer won’t always agree with decisions made from the trained RFS volunteers and those in the command centers.. They may not even understand why a back burn isn’t done at certain times. But one thing I have learnt is without the farmers help. Many more fires would be harder to contain, and more property and animals would be lost. Right across our country.
I feel at times. That the dialog between the command center and the people on the ground could be better. So then everyone understands the decisions made. I also understand. That the command center has the technology at their disposal to make informed fire fighting decisions, to help control a fire, and on the frontline you don’t have that. Or the time to source that information.
In the end. Together, the RFS and property owners work together for a common goal.
That is to save and protect. As a volunteer. I would hate to think of our job, without them.