Out in the rural acreages, there's an anxious wait ahead for NSW RFS

At the Burra fire shed, RFS crew leader Brian Egloff prepares for worsening weather conditions ahead. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos
At the Burra fire shed, RFS crew leader Brian Egloff prepares for worsening weather conditions ahead. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

It has been a long few months for volunteer firefighters in the New South Wales region and to make matters worse, another bushfire is poised to come at them from across the ACT border.

Two days of intense hot weather ahead and the likelyhood of "erratic" fire conditions in the baking heat of Saturday afternoon makes for an anxious time ahead not just for Canberrans but for the rural areas nearby.

Brian Egloff, a volunteer firefighter and crew leader with the Burra brigade, said that the next few days would be nervous ones for his local community.

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When The Canberra Times arrived at the brigade's shed on Thursday evening, Burra locals had crowded into the back room to hear a briefing from brigade captain Allan Schmidt.

Burra NSW RFS crew leader Brian Egloff checks equipment in preparation for worsening weather conditions for the Orroral Fire. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

Burra NSW RFS crew leader Brian Egloff checks equipment in preparation for worsening weather conditions for the Orroral Fire. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos

There were many questions, and some uncertainty in the room. The fierce weather ahead has people at Burra filling drums with water and placing them around the edges of their home paddocks to fight ember attacks.

They know too, that if a fire comes their way, mains power will be lost. Nearly everyone has a generator, just in case.

There are three "trigger" points for an escalation of a fire emergency for Burra.

The first starts if the fire crosses the Naas-Boboyan Rd, followed by the Murrumbidgee River, then the Monaro Highway.

The local brigade has three trucks and importantly, experienced people on them who know the area well.

Like most volunteers brigades, the members are from all walks of life: ex-military and public service, scientists, private industry and tradespeople.

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Mr Egloff is an anthropologist and an archaeologist who previously taught at the University of Canberra. He still does consulting work but there hasn't been a lot of time for it in the past few months.

"Since before Christmas our brigade has been staged out of Narrabri, Ulladulla and Grafton to fight fires there," he said.

"Fighting fires down the coast is more tiring because although you switch to one day on, one day off, you have to drive down there in the truck and be ready for your shift start, then drive all the way home again afterwards. It makes for a very long day."

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This story Out in the rural acreages, there's an anxious wait ahead first appeared on The Canberra Times.