HELPING OUT: Kelly Browne was sent from the Sutherland Shire to help out at the Ulmarra Fire Control Centre in the Clarence Valley.
HELPING OUT: Kelly Browne was sent from the Sutherland Shire to help out at the Ulmarra Fire Control Centre in the Clarence Valley. sasaas

FIRE: Meet the people working behind the scenes

DEPLOYED all the way from Sutherland Shire Kelly Browne from NSW Rural Fire Service head office came specifically to the Clarence Valley because of the fire conditions.

Ms Browne is currently undertaking the role of Deputy Incident Controller which ensures the community messaging is being heard and going out correctly.

"I am the deputy controller looking after the public liaison functions, logistics and management side of the operation," she said.

"Making sure we have consistent messaging going out across all of our fires in the Clarence Valley areas and making sure it's timely and relevant for the community so they know how to react and respond to these fires."

She said it has been quite busy caused by the number of fires burning at the moment.

"We are seeing increased activity with the weather conditions," she said.

She described the conditions across the state as very dry and drought affected.

"It's very hot and dry, we are seeing activity you don't expect to see in Winter," she said.

This is her first time up in the Clarence Valley, she mainly is sent more locally around Sutherland Shire and Sydney.

When The Daily Examiner visited the Fire Control Centre in Ulmarra there were a a number of services working together co-operatively including Fire and Rescue NSW, State Emergency Service, Forestry, and National Parks.

"These agencies are working together to make this work," she said.

 

HARDWORKING: Rural Fire Service volunteers and other emergency workers at the Central Valley Fire Control Centre in Ulmarra.
HARDWORKING: Rural Fire Service volunteers and other emergency workers at the Central Valley Fire Control Centre in Ulmarra. asassa

Ms Browne has been employed by the Rural Fire Service for 10 years but has been a volunteer for 30 years, joining at the age of 14 in 1989.

She said she had grown up with the RFS, with her both parents both involved in the organisation.

"I don't know any different," she said smiling.

Kelly Browne is also Chair Person in Women and Firefighting Australiasia Inc- promoting and celebrating women in firefighting.

The culmination of her dedication led to being awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal which was announced in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2017.

On WAFA's website it states Browne progressed through the ranks of the organisation and was elected as Brigade Captain in 2002, a position she held for eights year.

Then, in 2014 she was elected as Group Captain in the Sutherland District, becoming the first female to hold both of these roles within the Sutherland District.

"Attaining the most senior volunteer rank is an exceptional achievement with females currently accounting for only 1% of total members appointed at this level," it states on the website.



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