Valley firefighters continue good work

AFTER only returning from fire-ravaged Victoria on Wednesday, Maclean man Nick Clarke is already preparing to head back down.

“It's gut-wrenching when you see the people affected,” he said.

“You do anything you can with the resources you've got.”

For Nick, help began with supporting a bushfire fundraiser, when his business Home Hardware donated several large ticket prizes to a Maclean Hotel event, which raised nearly $10,000.

He went further with his support last week, travelling to Healesville, Victoria, in his role as a volunteer firefighter with the Rural Fire Service (RFS).

Now, along with 17 fellow RFS volunteers from Iluka, Copmanhurst, Grafton City, Brooms Head, Minnie Water, Glenreagh, Gulmarrad and Lanitza-Kungala, Nick will return to contain the blazes again.

RFS inspector Grant Anderson said firefighters would be blacking out and mopping up the area, preparing it for poor conditions, while support staff would help with logistics.

He said more valley firefighters may be deployed if needed.

It's hard work for the volunteers, who work 12-hour shifts, with only short breaks for meals, often facing dangerous conditions.

Despite the devastation and loss of life, Nick said it was inspiring to see communities pull together and help people in need.

“On one occasion, the shops were closing but they just reopened when our guys came by,” he said. “Another resident made coffee for us every day ... (and) the Red Cross is unbelievable with their support.”

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