The unprecedented and devastating fires of 2019 and 2020 Black Summer fires shocked not just Australia but the world. They are recognised as one of the outcomes of global heating and the lack of action on climate change in both Australia and around the world. But without the many thousands of hours of dedicated volunteer work by the Rural Fire Service (RFS) members the loss of human life, housing, and the loss of animal habitats could have been significantly worse.
Recognising the unpaid dedication of their RFS members and their families the NSW Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) has run a series of seven family days across the state for RFS members and their families including one at Knockrow Macadamia Castle near Ballina last Saturday.
RFSA president Brian McDonough said because of the global pandemic in 2020, this is the first series of Family Day events that has been held since the previous devastating bushfire disaster.
‘This is a thank you for the work last season of the RFS members and their families for the work they do,’ he told The Echo.
‘On behalf of the people of NSW and the RFSA, we say thank you for all that you do – for keeping our communities safe, for battling the dangerous and life-threatening fires, and for saving what can be saved,’ Mr McDonough said.
The RFSA day at Knockrow Castle saw around 300 volunteers and their families attend a fun day involving an animal petting zoo, mini-golf, a bird show and lunch. Similar events in Coffs Harbour and Taree also saw a good turnout of volunteers to enjoy the family days over the last few weeks.
‘We all witnessed immense bravery and strength in recent times. After Black Summer and the COVID related challenges we’ve all experienced, this Family Day gives us the opportunity to come together as a community once again,’ Mr McDonough said.
‘After a hard year for everyone, I can think of no better way to inject some much-needed cheer back into our regional communities whilst celebrating our volunteer firefighters.’