Meet the heroes who stand between fire and homes
News Corp and The Daily Telegraph is paying tribute to the state's brave volunteer firefighters, who have put their lives on the line and on hold to protect life and property. Many have taken leave from their jobs or business without pay, while others have gone weeks without seeing their partners and children. Here are a few of their stories.
JOB SEARCH PUT ON HOLD
Scott King, 40, was due to start a new job as the Green Wattle Creek fire began weeks ago but it never eventuated.
"I have not been able to really apply for work or look around for anything else at the moment," Mr King said. "There's probably one place I've applied for but it can be hard after a 14 or 15-hour shift on the truck. My missus has been great with looking around for other jobs for me while I do this."
DOING IT FOR HIS BELOVED WIFE
Neville Wearne lost his wife of 29 years, Irene, to pancreatic cancer in September but has barely had time to grieve.
He has been deployed for six weeks with the Ebenezer RFS fighting fires around Sydney's fringe. He has had to forgo income from his day job as an electrical engineer.
UNABLE TO RUN HIS BUSINESS
Thirlmere firefighter Jamie Illiston, 42, has been on the truck for three weeks.
He runs his own business as an evacuation specialist, but has been unable to attend work while fighting the fires that have ripped through outer Sydney.
OUR CHRISTMAS ANGELS
Michael Lawrence, Peter Lawrence, Russell Scholes and Andrew Johnston on the Balmoral 1 truck have been working on the fireground for two solid weeks. The crew has been fighting the ferocious Green Wattle Creek fire, near Balmoral.
The close-knit crew says they are more than willing to forgo Christmas lunch this year if they are needed on the fireground.
LEFT THE FARM TO FIGHT
Nicole Groger, 22, has set aside work as a farmhand at Wilberforce in the Hawkesbury to do her part for fire-affected communities.
She has stared down deadly flames a number of times and been involved in saving "well over 10" houses.
If you know a hero firefighter, let us know about them in the comments below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org