UNSUNG HERO: 18 year old Dayna Wood has attended every fire in the Clarence Valley this season.
UNSUNG HERO: 18 year old Dayna Wood has attended every fire in the Clarence Valley this season.

UNSUNG HERO: A firey since she was four-years-old

DAYNA Wood knew she was going to be a firefighter before she had even started school.

Being the daughter of Ulmarra Rural Fire Service brigade's senior deputy, Dayna grew up hearing her dad's stories from the frontline and knew soon enough she would be the one with incredible tales to tell.

"I remember always going down to the fire station and having fun and trying out the fire truck. The atmosphere that was there was really good, like a big, close family," she said.

"In kindergarten when they asked you, 'What do you want to be when you grow up?', I said I wanted to be a firefighter."

 

 

YOUNG STARTER: As a 4-year-old Dayna Wood featured in the Daily Examiner ahead of a fire station open day.
YOUNG STARTER: As a 4-year-old Dayna Wood featured in the Daily Examiner ahead of a fire station open day.

 

 

Before she was even allowed to fight fires, Dayna joined the brigade, first completing the RFS cadet program at South Grafton High School and in November 2017 completed her training.

"I joined in 2016 but I was not old enough, you have to be at least 16 to become a trained-up member."

This season, Dayna hasn't stopped heading out to the fire front through HSC exam preparation, her birthday and Christmas.

"I've been in since the Shark Creek fire and then I've been to every single fire in the Clarence as well as up to Rappville," she said. "I've been on the frontline, with the hose, on the pump, talking to comms and helping new members out, being in charge."

For her 18th birthday, Dayna was helping crews battle the blaze the ripped through Baryulgil, one of her favourite memories from what she said is undoubtably the worst fire season she has seen, even in her relatively short time with the brigade.

 

Ulmarra RFS maintenance officers Dayna Wood and Laynae Okkonen.
Ulmarra RFS maintenance officers Dayna Wood and Laynae Okkonen.

The decision to give up adult milestones and juggle the already-strenuous task of preparing for "only six" HSC exams is an easy one for Dayna.

"It's because I love it," she said.

"I think it's to give back to the community and I love putting smiles on people's faces. When little kids see our truck they're always waving and always joyful for it."

"There's not enough trucks for houses. We're a pretty strong crew when we're out together and the hours are just because they can't get crews together because locals are all worn out.

"Our maximum (shift) is meant to be 12 hours, but they're 15 or 16."

 

Dayna Wood did shifts on the firefront amid studying for her HSC exams.
Dayna Wood did shifts on the firefront amid studying for her HSC exams.

Dayna is humble but recognises the more she shares on social media of the infernos she battles, that it can lead to inspiring others to join ranks.

"I think it's great that people think I'm inspiring them and that they want to join up," she said.

"I would like to see people my age volunteer, obviously work comes first but it would be a good thing to do on the side."

With the worst of the season winding down and high school finally over, Dayna has had a chance to relax and plan for her next step.

"I want to stay in the fireys, I'm going to have a gap year this year and go into environmental science at university," she said.

"You can do that for courses with the RFS and go into things like fire investigation."

 

 

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