The Cudgegong District celebrated a combined 639 years of volunteer service to the NSW Rural Fire Service at their annual presentation ceremony on Saturday.
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National Medals/Clasps are presented to members in recognition of their years of diligent service (15, 25, 35, 45, etc) going beyond what is expected within their brigade(s).
Long Service Medals/Clasps are presented to members in recognition of their years of active service (10, 20, 30, 40, 50, etc).
NSW RFS Commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM, acknowledged the work of the organisation’s personnel following the most challenging fire season on record – which was felt in the local area.
“We saw the best of our people working in some of the most horrendous conditions in February this year,” he said.
“When NSW experienced the worst ever fire danger ratings forecast and recorded in the state since weather records began.
“And of course that extended right out to the Mid-Western Region; we saw fires in the Mudgee district in Kains Flat and the Sir Ivan Fire to the north, which Mudgee had a significant role in the southern division of.
“It was an awful period.”
He said that even the current bush fire danger period – which began on September 1 for the local region – has already been testing them.
“We have seen a really busy start to this fire season on the back of one of the driest and warmest winters we’ve seen in decades,” he said.
“The figures I’ve seen to the end of September are something like 6,000 fires so far across NSW since July 1 – and during the month of September alone we had just under 3,000 fires.
“We were averaging more than 100 fires a day and there were 600 to 1000 firefighters being deployed across those fire grounds.”
Commissioner Fitzsimmons added that recognition of RFS volunteers’ skills and professionalism has come this year in the largest ever deployment to fight wildfires in Canada.
Just over 200 personnel nationally, 88 from NSW – comprised of RFS, Fire and Rescue, and National Parks and Wildlife.
Specifically sought after were skilled forest and remote area fire fighters.
“Be under no doubt you are second to none in the world, the services, the support and protection to your community is one that is recognised right across the globe,” he said.
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