Firies of Fire and Rescue NSW appeared ready and alert during their fortnightly fire drill on Tuesday.
It was hard to believe that they had just put out a grass fire on the bank of the Macintyre River, behind the Inverell Public Library, around 5pm on Tuesday.
"We do get a few grass fires by the riverbank lit by kids that walk past," said Captain Robbie Wighton, head of the Fire and Rescue service at Inverell.
But for these local heroes grass fires are mere trifles compared to larger incidents such as the recent fire between Warialda and Delungra and other bush fires that rural Australia is notorious for.
Always ready and alert, they work together like a well-oiled fighting machine. The trick is regular practice and keeping abreast of the latest developments when it comes to firefighting.
There’s a bit of camaraderie during the fire drill, but this dress rehearsal can save lives when firies are called to action in real-case scenarios.
On Tuesday, they saved “Sadie” the clown while bracing themselves for some of the worst fire conditions forecast for Wednesday as hot winds and searing temperatures are expected to bake the region.
Total fire bans have been implemented but there is always a sense of unpredictability during bushfire season.
“Every time you are called out to a fire there are many things that can go wrong and a number of potential hazards,” said Captain Jeff Cowley.
The sense of purpose Mr Cowley feels is what makes it all worthwhile. He joined the fire service when he was 21 years old as a way of giving to the community. Others like Wighton, whose father and grandfather were also firies, have firefighting in their blood.
All 17 members of the service come from all walks of life: maintenance men, school teachers, builders, retail managers and more.
Fit, funny and fearless they rise to the occasion whenever we need them – fighting the good fight.