LOCAL FIRIES: Lennox Head Rural Fire Brigade leaders (from left) captain Bill McKenzie, president Monty Gibbs and senior deputy captain Geoff White are on a recruitment drive.
LOCAL FIRIES: Lennox Head Rural Fire Brigade leaders (from left) captain Bill McKenzie, president Monty Gibbs and senior deputy captain Geoff White are on a recruitment drive. Yvonne Gardiner

Burning desire to help a community

AFTER two weeks of fighting a major bushfire at Lennox Head, the last thing rural fire brigade president Monty Gibbs wants to see when he looks up is a cloudless blue sky and hot sun.

Unsurprisingly, he's hoping for lots of rain.

Ballina, Tweed and Byron shire brigades responded to the bushfire in February, which burnt across 473 hectares.

"It was horrendous. It was a joint effort for the entire area," Monty said.

The fire was not close to houses at any time, apart from necessary backburns.

Three water-carrying helicopters, dubbed the "flying angels", were brought in when the fire moved into inaccessible scrub.

Brigade captain Bill McKenzie has been a rural firie for 18 years, and called the latest blaze "a horror".

Brigade members battled hot, unpleasant conditions in shifts of up to 14 hours.

"We've got 14 members on the books, six active members," Bill said.

"We average one callout a week over the year.

"That's not to say you won't have three in a day at some point."

The brigade also gets called out to vehicle accidents and house fires.

Monty says anyone aged over 18 is welcome to volunteer, especially those holding a truck licence.

"There are certain jobs for everyone to partake in," he said.

"Crew safety is foremost in the mind.

"You've got to make sure your crews are looked after."

Monty says the brigade is looking for men and women who care for their community and are prepared to do some "hard yards".

He said the community spirit really shone through at the recent fire emergency.

"Everybody just rallied. It was phenomenal," he said.

Brigade meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at the fire station, Park Lane, opposite Lennox Community Centre.

The brigade is also hosting a meet and greet fundraiser at Club Lennox on March 26 from midday.

Contact Monty Gibbs on 0419296093 for details.


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