Rural Fire Service volunteer firefighters from Deniliquin, Mathoura, Bunnaloo and Barham returned from the Lithgow fires on Tuesday.By Tyla Harrington
Battle weary and covered in ash, 13 regional Rural Fire Service volunteers returned from the Lithgow fires on Tuesday.
The firefighters flew in to Deniliquin on Tuesday morning after four days of battling the blaze, called the State Mine bushfire, which has been raging since October 16.
Deniliquin firefighter Robert Greaves said the fire, which is north-west of Sydney and has burnt more than 47,000ha, was ‘‘horrific’’.
‘‘At one stage we were protecting one of the houses near a town called Bell – it survived,’’ he said.
Even after 7am to 7pm shifts, firefighters still managed a smile after disembarking the plane in Deniliquin and each said they would return to Lithgow if needed.
When the plane touched down at Deniliquin Airport it was quickly filled with 16 more Mid Murray Zone RFS firefighters before taking off to the Lithgow area. They will return today.
Deniliquin NSW Fire and Rescue firefighters have also been recruited for Lithgow and return Tuesday.
It is not expected more local firefighters will be needed after condition changes on Wednesday and yesterday.
Dangerous fires are nothing new for the local heroes, with some of them also fighting the Black Saturday bushfires.
The firefighters were pulled off the fire ground to return home Tuesday morning.
‘‘This morning they said ‘guys get down to the bus you’re going home’ – there was no time for a shower,’’ Ricky Greaves said on Tuesday.
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