THE summer's bushfire crisis may have devastated communities across the state, however it has also created a groundswell of community support.
Locals from all walks of life have heeded the NSW Rural Fire Service's (RFS) call and joined up as volunteers.
Among the latest recruits are Harland and Sue Lisle, who have just completed their training to join the Kingswood RFS brigade.
"We were actually overseas when the first of the fires began in Tenterfield and the reports we were getting were quite confronting at times," Mr Lisle told the Leader.
"Once we got back home, we were thinking a lot about it and now that I'm semi-retired I thought joining up would be a good thing to do.
"The Kingswood station has just benefited from some recent funding and the facilities we have now are really good.
"All the guys have been really welcoming and we just got through our training before the pandemic hit, so I'm pretty confident we are ready for whatever the summer throws at us."
Tamworth RFS Superintendent Allyn Purkiss said the Lisles were among a raft of new recruits across the region.
"We do tend to see an influx after a busy summer like this past one and I'm pleased to see this year has been no exception," Superintendent Purkiss said.
"What's been most pleasing has been how many younger people have joined up.
"We've had some young 21-year-olds join up, which is exciting to see and all of them have come along really well with their training.
"Recently we had a new paid member join our ranks as well, so there has been a lot of exciting developments for us ahead of this summer."
Mr Lisle said he would encourage anyone thinking of volunteering to give it a try. "It's been really rewarding so far," he said.
"I've only been on three call outs so far and none of them have been too full on, but it is good experience.
"We're always able to get help from the RFS whenever it's needed and it feels really good to be able to give back.
"I think it's a great thing to do and I would certainly encourage anyone thinking of joining up to give it a go."
If you're thinking about volunteering for the RFS, visit: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/volunteer