The Karuah RSL has held a free sausage sizzle for the bushfire crews who helped save the town last month.
“It was a case of let’s do a ‘thank you’ for the firefighters for the big effort they did,” Ross Parr, General Manager of the Karuah RSL, told News Of The Area.FIRST SENTENCE HERE
Crews from Karuah, North Arm Cove and Limeburners Creek Rural Bushfire Brigades enjoyed the afternoon get-together.
It was a chance to share some stories and reflect on the fierce fires which cut off the highway, the town, and threatened dozens of homes.
Captain Graeme Wilson from the Limeburners Brigade paid tribute to his crew.
“Our tanker had been down in Sydney for four days doing hazard reduction burns,” Graeme said.
“They got back on the Saturday morning, had time for a cup of coffee, then they were back out again.”
“I think I did about 40 hours in four days,” Graeme said.
The same could be said for all the firefighters whose jobs were made even more difficult because satellite communications were cut.
“The Telstra tower went out so we had no mobile phone reception, and no Internet,”Graeme said.
Crews were forced to resort to maps, compasses and two-way radios.
The Karuah RSL became a makeshift evacuation centre.
“We had a bus load of elderly passengers stuck here from Forster on their way to Maitland,” Ross Parr said.
The boss of the Karuah RSL has put in a grant application to Kate Washington, MP for the Port Stephens electorate, for a generator to make the Club an officially designated evacuation centre.
‘’The club is going to put in half, we’re hoping for a grant to pay for other half of the $150,000 price tag.’’
If the November fires were anything to go by, we’re in for a long hot summer.
By Margie TIERNEY