“We were burning in a gully behind homes and burning off their fence lines.”
Peter Reynolds, Captain of the Pambula RFS
It was around 9pm on Monday, October 21 when Peter Reynolds and the local team in three tankers, finally arrived at Penrith where a special base camp had been set up for the fire fighting task force at the Penrith Panthers League Club.
Mr Reynolds said that it was one of the biggest gatherings of fire fighters he had ever seen.
“First up we were issued with bedding and had to find a cot. Then there were briefings first thing on Tuesday. Once briefed we were deployed at staging areas or as needed.
“The first day we were sent out to Faulconbridge where we spent a day during the back burn there.”
Mr Reynolds said that the operation which was to protect property was directly behind homes and took all day.
“I’ve never seen so many trucks in one street. We were burning in a gully behind homes and burning off their fence lines,” he said.
On Wednesday Mr Reynolds was sent south to the Wollongong area where strike teams were put all around Bulli Tops.
“There was a fire there but it was within contained lines but the forecast was worrying for that day and so we were on alert,” he said.
On Thursday, it was back to the Blue Mountains where Mr Reynolds’ group was deployed in Darling Causeway Road which joins the Bells Line of Road.
“We were patrolling between 10-15km of the road,” Mr Reynolds said.
The fire had already been through but fire fighters were trying to ensure no burning embers remained to take hold again.
“For the area up there it was a substantial fire and considering it’s only October, it’s just spring time, so it’s worrying,” he said.