SHE has only been a retained firefighter for six months, but Tamworth’s Karly Davidson was one of the first to climb in the truck headed for the Blue Mountains yesterday.
After watching the devastating scenes play out on TV, she could not turn her back.
“I’m slightly anxious, you know, watching all the news reports, but everyone we’re with, they’re all really supportive.
“We’re really trained, and everyone is experienced.”
But fighting this fire will be a whole lot different to any of her previous
“This is the first major bushfire incident. All of our other incidents have just been urban,” she said.
“It’s just horrific what’s going on down there, so it’s just a little way to help out.”
But she’s not the only one battling the first-time fears.
Coonabarabran firefighter 29-year-old Jacob McKern admitted the trip to Tamworth was quiet, but everyone was ready to get on with the job.
“I’ve never done one like this,” he said.
“Not as big as this, nowhere near as big as this.
“It’s a bit daunting but I’m looking forward to it; there’s probably a bit of adrenaline.”
After loading the trucks and double- checking equipment, it was down to business.
A safety briefing laid everything out on the table.
“There are hellish winds coming in from the west, so hence they want us down there quickly,” Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Steve Hirst told his crews.
They were told to expect flying embers, a lot of smoke and vision would be down.
The firefighters will be on the ground where the houses meet the bush in the Blue Mountains.
There will be property protection – but they come first.
“Protect life, then protect property, but we can’t do that without protecting ourselves,” Inspector O’Regan told the firefighters.
“Falling trees and branches, they fall without warning, without a sound.”
Armidale’s Scott Strawb headed straight for his truck after getting the nod.
He battled the bushfires in the
Warrumbungles earlier this year.
At just 19, he admitted to having some butterflies as he was preparing for something like this.
“Yeah, there’s a couple,” Mr Strawb said.
“It’ll probably be worse this time around because of the bigger fire area. It’s a bigger fire front and it’s hotter down there.”