Massive Fire & Rescue mobilisation for bushfire crisis
Published: 22nd October 2013
In response to the current bushfire crisis, Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Commissioner Greg Mullins has ordered what will be one of the largest mobilisations of fire engines and fire officers in the history of the organisation.
Today (Tuesday) up to 170 fire tankers and fire engines crewed by nearly 800 officers will be ready to deploy to the Blue Mountains. This number could rise to about 200 fire engines if the situation deteriorates.
Commissioner Mullins, himself a veteran of every Blue Mountains bushfire emergency since 1977, said firefighters were travelling from all over NSW to be ready to respond, and 10 fire engines and crews from Queensland, and another 10 from Melbourne, would be in Sydney to assist.
“Fifty-three fire engines, tankers and crews – more than 200 fire officers – from across regional NSW are heading to Sydney today to prepare for the extreme fire conditions forecast for tomorrow (Wednesday),” Commissioner Mullins said.
“They will be joined by 16 units and 70 fire officers based in the Blue Mountains, recalled off duty fire officers on reserve fleet engines, and fire crews from suburban Sydney.
“The Blue Mountains and surrounding communities could be facing a bushfire threat on a scale that has not been experienced before. As such, FRNSW will be at maximum capacity and will work shoulder to shoulder with NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers to protect lives and property in mountain communities.”
Commissioner Mullins said that as well as deploying an unprecedented number of firefighting resources to the bushfire crisis, it would still be ‘business as usual’ for FRNSW in the Sydney metropolitan, Central Coast, Illawarra, Newcastle and regional areas.
“We are keeping adequate emergency response resources available to respond to grass fires, smaller bush and scrub fires, road accidents, structure fires, rescues and hazardous materials emergencies,” Commissioner Mullins said.
“There will be about 60 fire engines as well as specialist heavy rescue, hazmat and high-rise firefighting vehicles still available to respond in the Sydney metropolitan area, and all fire stations in Newcastle, Wollongong, the Central Coast and major regional centres will be at full strength."
The only other times that a similar mobilisation took place was during the 1994 bushfire emergencies, and the 1997 Sydney hail storm disaster.