Brigade 'family' holds the line

Written By miftah nugraha on Minggu, 03 Maret 2013 | 19.55

DEDICATED: Molesworth Fire Brigade - volunteer members of the Molesworth Fire Brigade, from left, Colin Mitchell, Peter Eaton, John Stephenson, Dean Metcalf, Bruno Rime and Rosemary Evenhuis.

"BLOODY hard" is how Molesworth fire brigade chief Terry Root sums up the summer.

Molesworth is one of 230 Tasmanian brigades that form what Mr Root calls a big firefighting family.

The small bush brigade's 13 firefighters joined thousands of other volunteers during January to fight Tasmania's worst bushfires since 1967.

"It's been really difficult. This mob are a really dedicated group," Mr Root said.

Mr Root, 69, was on duty for 21 days straight during the Lake Repulse and Molesworth fires, while many members also put in at least 10 days in a row.

Just as the crew went elsewhere to help battle fires, the community was helped by firefighters from as far away as Zeehan in the Molesworth blaze.

"It's a really big family ... everyone will go anywhere to help," he said.

Mr Root, a retired musician, said Molesworth's diverse community was reflected in the fire brigade's volunteer base.

Members included a teacher, a scientist, a computer game programmer, an engineer and a surveyor.

On high fire danger days, members took time off work so they could be at the fire station ready to respond.

Mr Root said regular training prepared volunteers to face frightening scenarios such as bushfires and road accidents.

"You get to know your limits, you can react without thinking, you take calculated risks," he said.

Mr Root said that, while firefighters around the state had been showered with praise after the bushfires, there was a better way to thank them than simple gratitude.

"If you want to help us, prepare your own land (for bushfires). That's the biggest gift you could give us," he said.

"This is a deadly valley. It will burn everything into Hobart if it goes."

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