When major bushfires occur it's not only the Rural Fire Service (RFS) who are called upon - many roles are played by personnel in gear of all colours - which is why local volunteers from the State Emergency Service (SES) have received a new Premier's Citation to recognise their efforts during the difficult summer.
The SES - a volunteer-based organisation of approximately 9,000 members across NSW - are the lead agency for flood and storm assistance in the state.
However, when disasters unfold it's a case of "all hands on deck" and members of all emergency service agencies step-up to keep response moving forward.
And while it's not uncommon for Mudgee SES volunteers to be deployed out of the local area to assist - including to flooding in Taree, Narromine, and Nyngan, and the monster bushfire in the Warrumbungle National Park in 2013 - last summer was a lot closer to home.
The Mid-Western Region experienced one of its busiest bushfire seasons in decades, with hundreds of thousands of hectares burnt and weeks spent under 'Major Incident' conditions.
NSW SES Mudgee Unit Commander, Russell Dwyer, said that during this time the volunteers in orange were providing logistical assistance to those at the fire front.
"We don't fight the fires, but we support the RFS during the bushfires, especially the ones around here," he said.
"Mostly we were located at the Fire Control Centre in Depot Road. We took meals out, resupplied them with equipment, did runs out to the airport where they were also based, brought broken-down vehicles back into town - all of those logistical jobs.
"All of the agencies were helping out and based around Fire Control and we were rostered on. We had an SES liason officer who would assign the tasks, and away we went."
The NSW Premier's Bushfire Emergency Citation - a commemorative cap, certificate, letter from the Premier and Citation pin that can be worn on uniforms - was presented to more than 65,000 people involved across a broad spectrum of the fight against the 2019-20 bushfires. Including the eight Mudgee SES members.
"This citation is thoroughly deserved for the thousands of volunteers and emergency services personnel who put their safety on the line to protect lives and properties. Equally deserving are those recognised who provided critical behind the scenes support," Ms Berejiklian said.
"In harrowing conditions, those recognised kept turning up to help their communities day after day, week after week, month after month. This citation serves as a reminder of their heroic dedication to the people of NSW in the most trying circumstances."
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