WELCOME TO THE CREW: Dalveen Rural Fire Brigade first officer Rob Hockings with members Nathan Parkes and John Hunt are ecstatic about new recruits. Photo Lisa Googe / Stanthorpe Border Post
WELCOME TO THE CREW: Dalveen Rural Fire Brigade first officer Rob Hockings with members Nathan Parkes and John Hunt are ecstatic about new recruits. Photo Lisa Googe / Stanthorpe Border Post

‘Next gen’ of Southern Downs rural fireys welcomed

13 NEW firefighters have entered the ranks of our esteemed Southern Downs rural firefighters, with many a welcome boost in bodies before this year’s fire season.

At Dalveen Rural Fire Brigade first officer Ron Hocking had been thrilled by his two new editions and the general increase across the community.

“It’s fantastic, you look at the variety of ages, male and female, all sorts of life experience, and the diversity we’re getting through is great,’ he said.

With some new members as young as 16, Mr Hocking was “honoured” to see the changing face of the local rural fire service — something he attributed partly to last year’s horror fire season.

“The diversity reflects the diversity in the community and it’s the way it should be,” he said.

“A lot of people, not only frontline but support members, are now putting up their hand and want to help out.”

New Southern Downs members await their introduction into the rural fire service.
New Southern Downs members await their introduction into the rural fire service.

With 20 current frontline members of his crew, the newfound support would also help ensure a “bigger pool” of volunteers was ready at a moment’s notice in case upcoming conditions matched those of the past years’ “tough” and exhausting seasons.

“The last fire season and the season before it saw a huge escalation so we’re really taking this year day by day, month by month and reviewing constantly,” Mr Hocking said.

“The long term forecast says it will be wetter than average which is good to keep things down but we’re not seeing the grazing levels we used to see so there is a fair bit of fuel still lying around.

“It means now is the time to keep the pressure on to get ready for the fire season ahead. New members is just part of that pre-season planning.”



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