FIGHTING fires at the Wallaga Lake Koori village could be a challenge at times for Rural Fire Service volunteers.
Burning off has been a part of Aboriginal culture for thousands of years and volunteers have found themselves attempting to control fires while at the same time community members have continued burning off or requested the fires be left to burn, even on hot, windy days.
But now things should be a lot safer and straight-forward because new dialogue has opened between local fire service volunteers and community members, coordinated by the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Aboriginal liaison officer.
The central idea being to train Wallaga residents themselves to be involved in firefighting efforts and even be first responders to bushfires.
Boosting morale even further was the delivery on the weekend of a NSW RFS community protection trailer to the Wallaga Lake village.
Enthusiastic residents greeted the new trailer on Saturday and then checked out all the equipment that is carried on RFS heavy tankers.
Eurobodalla Southern group officer Neil Crawley said the trailer contained basic fire-fighting equipment and meant that once training is completed, Wallaga residents will have the knowledge and equipment needed to make an initial attack on fires occurring within the village.
“The ability to mount an immediate attack has the potential to greatly reduce the threat to life and property and will to some degree mean that assistance can be instigated whilst awaiting the arrival of appliances from the nearest fire station,” Mr Crawley said.
The training is being provided by volunteer deputy Captains Craig Tulau and Dino Zucco from the Central Tilba brigade working with the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Aboriginal liaison officer Terry Hill.
“All are aiming for an informed approach and so far so good,” Mr Crawley said.
“The residents pictured are the key to success with the shire’s Aboriginal liaison officer Terry Hill being the catalyst who is supported by a committed Tilba RFS crew.”