South Coast fires: Strike team muster in Narooma

Firefighters from all corners of NSW have come to assist Eurobodalla Shire brigades in the coming weeks.

Deputy Incident Controller Stuart Watts said strike teams arrived on the night of January 26.

"They are here to assist local brigades who have gone through such horrid times these past few weeks," Mr Watts said.

Safety manager James Henderson, base camp manager Andrew Mutton, logistics liaison Adam Kohley and sergeant Tim Dunn of CIMIC (Civil Military Cooperation).

Safety manager James Henderson, base camp manager Andrew Mutton, logistics liaison Adam Kohley and sergeant Tim Dunn of CIMIC (Civil Military Cooperation).

There are 218 firefighters from across the state staying at Narooma. A temporary base camp is also being erected at Bill Smyth Oval, with tents and bedding for extra crews.

Mr Watts said the camp would act as a central hub for strike teams.

"We are utilising accommodation options in Narooma and the base camp will be set up for a surge of capacity if required," Mr Watts said.

Tents set up on Bill Smyth Oval to be used as accommodation. Three Army tents and 10 RFS tents will be erected this week.

Tents set up on Bill Smyth Oval to be used as accommodation. Three Army tents and 10 RFS tents will be erected this week.

"It can accommodate an additional 100 firefighters if accommodation options run out or things build up quickly."

"It (the base camp) will be sitting there for a little while ready to go."

Base camp manager Andrew Mutton said everyone was tired midway through the season, but continue to help each other out.

Inside one of the tents.

Inside one of the tents.

"There is a real sense of camaraderie," he said.

A strike team comprises crews from 11 districts.

Mr Watts said each district has brought about five trucks. Each usually with five crew members aboard.

"They will work three days, then return on Thursday as other strike teams come and take their place on Wednesday," he said.

The strike teams include coordinators and team leaders.

"This exercise is bringing a certain amount of people down in a hurry," Mr Watts said.

"Crews are here to work and we make them happy by working them hard."

The strike teams have been tasked to "build protection".

"We divide them in between Moruya, Bumbo and Narooma, and down into the Bega area to close the gaps on areas providing exposure," Mr Watts said.

"We back-burn where we can to lock in some areas."

As the weather forecast is for high temperatures later this week, Mr Watts said strike teams would be ready to defend properties.

"There's a definite need for greater protection here," he said.

"We can stand up some crews in coastal villages should the weather become high or greater.

"Once it gets hotter and drier we stop back-burning and wait for the passage of weather - we will see what the gods bring for us."

Volunteer firefighters from the Grafton area, part of the Clarence Valley strike team. They arrived at the base camp at Bill Smyth Oval on Monday afternoon, January 27.

Volunteer firefighters from the Grafton area, part of the Clarence Valley strike team. They arrived at the base camp at Bill Smyth Oval on Monday afternoon, January 27.

The Defence Force was continuing to support RFS operations.

Sergeant Tim Dunn of CIMIC (Civil Military Cooperation) said soldiers from as far as Brisbane were assisting.

"We have reserve and regular soldiers, infantry and armored, all elements combined, here supporting the RFS and clearing fire trails," he said.

The soldiers are part of a task group located at Pambula and Bega, and some at Bodalla.

Mr Dunn said soldiers were "in transition".

"There are a lot of soldiers rotating out as others come in and take their place and supplement their work," he said.

Firefighting crews include: Lower North Coast, Clarence Valley, Illawarra, Hawksbury, Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Region East (greater Sydney), Riverina, Southern Border, Murrumbidgee Irragation Area, Mid-Murray, Lower Hunter, The Hills, Sutherland, Northern Beaches and Chifley/Lithgow.

It has been Australia's lost summer. Drought, hail, floods and, worst of all, bushfires have ravaged communities all over the nation. But the selfless actions of friends, family, neighbours, strangers, local groups and volunteer organisations have inspired us and strengthened the bonds of community. Please join us in saying thanks to the heroes of the home front by sharing your stories of gratitude. To salute a person or a group, please use the form below.

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