Gregory River firefighters were able to enjoy a much-needed reprieve on Christmas Day after battling a week-long blaze.
Gregory River Rural Fire Brigade First Officer Rudy Stakenburg has been in the service for 17 years and said the fire known as Childers Road/Foleys Road was one of the biggest he had been to.
“We got the call on a Monday the week before Christmas,” he said.
“I lost all track of time when the fires were on because of how busy it gets.
“This fire went from Monday to Monday, 24 hours a day with up to 18 trucks on the ground.
“During the fire the volunteers worked hard, and the truck was never turned off with rotating crews.”
Rudy said although the fire didn’t burn for as long as the recent Woodgate fire, he believed it to be bigger in size.
“It was definitely one of the biggest fires I have been to,” he said.
“I want to thank all the volunteers, everyone put a lot in to it.”
Volunteers and public thanked for support
He thanked the volunteers for their dedication and said the generous helping hands from the public were tremendous.
“We had Dominos Pizza come out and donate pizza for the volunteers, even a girl from Home Ice Cream came out and gave us all icecream, then we had 5kilograms of sausages and bread, and more,” Rudy said.
“It’s times like these you really see the community pull together.
“It’s not just me who is saying thank you, it’s the whole Gregory River community.”
Rudy and his wife Lyn are both in their 70s and he said being in the Rural Fire Service sometimes felt like not just having a second family but a whole other life.
“I’ve been married for over 50 years and my wife still asks how my second life is going,” Rudy joked.
“I spent Christmas Day at home, as my wife said I needed to sleep sometime.
“And on Boxing Day I patrolled the fire ground to check on it and it has definitely calmed down a lot now with only a few smouldering bits.”
Rudy said if there was ever a time to join a rural fire brigade, now was ideal.
“We all need more members, especially Gregory River; anyone interested can come into the station,” he said.
“We now have six active members and two support members at Gregory River. Since all the fires we have had five new membership applications come in.”
For more information about joining the Queensland Rural Fire Service visit here.