Thinking back on the 2019-2020 bush fire season, the RFS was the pillar of unwavering support and compassion for their communities.
Despite personal impacts and the relentless nature of the season, everyone continued to solider on and do whatever they could.
It was incredibly challenging to balance, family, career and firefighting responsibilities. The only way that this was possible was through the support and encouragement of their families and support networks.
Firefighters and other emergency services do not do what they do alone.
The 2019-20 bush fire season took an enormous toll on all communities across the state. It was incredibly dry with no end in sight. The weather would give us days of reprieve and we would implement containment strategies only for them to be breached and obliterated during the very next period of deteriorating weather.
To the families of our firefighters I thank you for your ongoing support during such a challenging time
Those who are here to protect and serve are members of our communities and they are human just like the rest of us.
Day after day our firefighters, Incident Management Team and supporting agencies all not only battled the fires, but lived with it day after day.
Some days you would notice a person not at the office and realise they were at home defending their property. The very next day they were back at the office regardless of the outcome from the day before, doing what we all needed to, to try and keep our communities safe.
The one lesson that has resonated with me is the importance of looking after those around you.
The support and compassion I witnessed during the events was amazing. I hope that our communities continue to be considerate and kind to each other. I also hope that we continue to have time to heal and move forward in our recovery.
There is no right or wrong way to move through an event like the 2019-2020 fire season. Individually we can only progress at our pace, I wish those still suffering a summer of relief, though we must not allow complacency to set in and we must continue to be prepared for fires.
The Currowan fire started impacting our communities from the end of November 2019. We were all seeing it, smelling it, breathing it, living it well before the impact on December 31.
When I returned from RFS Headquarters on January 2, everywhere I travelled was fire impacted. There was no escaping where it had been and no escaping that it was still impacting.
I commenced working on the incident management team from January 3, and we were still seeing it, hearing it, smelling it, living in the smoke.
My salvation was travelling to the Moruya Fire Control Centre each day via George Bass Drive and being able to see the unburnt patch of Forest.
For that brief moment each day there was no fire, no impact, just normality.