RFS Volunteers

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I commend the member for Epping for moving this motion, which is extremely timely.

It is important that members thank those in our community who keep us safe.

The Blue Mountains is a unique World Heritage area, but it is also one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world. The district is home to just over 75,000 people, who live in and around 27 towns and villages across the mountains.

I pay tribute to Blue Mountains Rural Fire Service Superintendent David Jones, every brigade and every member in the Blue Mountains, including our group officers, Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers and Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.

I also thank the NSW Fire and Rescue, the NSW Ambulance, and the State Emergency Service personnel, who in recent times have all been on call and alert.

Problems began in the Blue Mountains on Thursday 3 November when the wind whipped up in the Megalong Valley Reserve while a hazard reduction burn was being carried out. My son put on his "yellows" and headed out to join his brigade in fighting the fire. The very next day, 4 November, he went to help out at Llandilo, Londonderry and Cranebrook.

My community has just commemorated the third anniversary of the 2013 bushfire disaster, when families suffered the loss of nearly 200 homes at Winmalee, Yellow Rock, Springwood, and Mount Victoria. Many people lost much-loved pets, and many other animals also suffered. My community is still on the journey to recovery.

I thank our emergency services personnel, and particularly the Rural Fire Service personnel. They have my deepest respect and I thank them for their service.

Hopefully the coming fire season is not terrible and that people come home after putting their lives on the line.

Thank you Rural Fire Service.

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