Helping Hands: Battling the New South Wales Bushfires

This October, New South Wales faced the worst bushfires since the 1960s. blueVisions team members Pieter Coetzee and Sean Blunt volunteered with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) to help battle the bushfires that were encircling Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

Over 60 fires had burned more than 116,000 hectares of land by Monday, October 21, officials said, with more than 200 homes damaged or destroyed.

Tragically, the fires have claimed two lives with one man suffering a heart attack while trying to save his house from the fire and another Rural Fire Service contract pilot dying when his plane crashed whilst laying fire retardant gel on one of the fires.

blueVisions staff members, Pieter Coetzee (Project Manager, Newcastle) and Sean Blunt (Manager Defence and ACT, Canberra) joined 3,000 other firefighters statewide to help battle the bushfires.

“Although it gets a bit hot, we are seldom in danger – that’s why I can take time for a ‘selfie’ such as the attached photo,” Coetzee said.

“The other photo is a typical back-burn photo with houses in the background. In this case, the main fire arrived about five minutes after we burned this area – result: happy homeowners.”

`caption id=”attachment_249″ align=”alignnone” width=”451″`Pieter Coetzee helps to battle the bushfires in NSW Pieter Coetzee helps to battle the bushfires in NSW`/caption`

`caption id=”attachment_247″ align=”alignnone” width=”450″`Pieter Coetzee doing back-burn method to stop the fire from spreading. Pieter Coetzee doing back-burn method to stop the fire from spreading.`/caption`

Sean Blunt also commented on the intensity of this year’s bushfires.

“In my 10 years fighting fires this is the busiest September/October I have experienced,” Blunt said.

“The lack of rain during winter has lead to the vast majority of the state being so dry that fires are taking off so quickly. In the last two weeks I have attended a number of fires at locations including: Winmalee, Bargo, Central Coast, Bilpin, Port Stephens and the Hawkesbury.”

`caption id=”attachment_250″ align=”alignnone” width=”960″`Sean Blunt (second from the right) with other volunteer firefighters Sean Blunt (second from the right) with other volunteer firefighters`/caption`

We are extremely proud of our members out there and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the fires.