Great Southern volunteer firefighters off to the big smoke to join battle against massive blaze

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A firefighter attends to a blaze near Wooroloo on Tuesday. INSET: DFES Great Southern Supt Wayne Green.
Camera IconA firefighter attends to a blaze near Wooroloo on Tuesday. INSET: DFES Great Southern Supt Wayne Green. Credit: Evan Collis/DFES

Great Southern firefighters have deployed to Perth to join the battle against a massive fire that has destroyed more than 70 homes.

More than 20 volunteer firefighters and two Department of Fire and Emergency Services staff members were part of a Great Southern deployment to Perth’s fire-ravaged north-east, where homes remain under direct threat.

The region’s contingent left on Tuesday and were yesterday in the thick of the battle, providing relief for local firefighters who had been at the coalface since the fire started in Wooroloo on Monday.

Great Southern district officer Derek Jones and community emergency services manager Kevin Bransby have been deployed as taskforce leaders. They will support volunteers from Albany, Denmark, Plantagenet and other parts of the region who are expected to battle the blaze for at least three days.

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“There is still a lot of work to do with this fire, the wind changes are constantly putting pressure on different sides of the fire and that’s a huge challenge,” DFES Great Southern Supt Wayne Green said.

“At the moment they will travel one day, work for three days and travel back and then rotate out but if the fire remains at a critical phase, there is always the chance of an extension or overlap of crews.

“We have trucks and people there and depending on what call is made and the stage the fire is at, if it’s at a critical phase we are likely to leave the trucks and rotate more people through.”

A property gutted by fire in Gidgegannup.
Camera IconA property gutted by fire in Gidgegannup. Credit: Ian Munro

Supt Green said he was “extremely proud” of the response from volunteers.

“That’s just how we operate in WA,” Supt Green said.

“Volunteering is critical to our fire operations.

“We’ve had our fair share of fires down here in the last couple of years, and our people have appreciated the support from the north and the west.

“I am sure that a lot of Great Southern volunteers are saying, ‘the least we can do is help out in return’.

“Thanks to the volunteers, their families and employers for their understanding and support, I am positive the communities impacted by this fire are deeply appreciative.”

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