PERTH Hills volunteer firefighters enjoyed tea and cake with Premier Mark McGowan as a thank you for their efforts in fighting the New Year’s Day Darlington fire.
As reported in Fire hits close to home for Darlington volunteers (Echo News, January 12) the blaze began in the Hudman Road Amphitheatre near Boya Quarry and quickly became out-of-control and unpredictable.
It took the help of two water bombers, two helitacs, aerial surveillance and 100 volunteer and career firefighters to bring the fire under control.
At the morning tea, held at the Darlington Pavilion, Mr McGowan said the January 1 bushfire highlighted the importance of strong communities.
“This part of Western Australia is very fire prone and you regularly have to defend people’s property and lives so thank you for what you do,” he said.
“While the rest of us were enjoying ourselves having family lunches and drinking beer and doing all that stuff you do on New Year’s Day, these men and women were out defending property and saving people’s lives and I want to thank you on behalf of everyone.”
Darlington Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade captain Ricky Harvey said the brigades appreciated the visit.
“I think it’s absolutely encouraging the Premier has taken time to come and meet some of the volunteer and career men and women from the districts,” he said.
“The Premier was very strong in acknowledging the sacrifice that we as volunteers and the career fire fighters put in to defend lives and properties on a day we would otherwise be spending with our families.”
Among the guests were volunteer brigade captains and their crews, Shire of Mundaring president John Daw and councillors and Kalamunda MLA Matthew Hughes.
“The hills communities have a strong sense of place,” Mr Hughes said.
“We hills residents especially value the members of our Emergency Service and Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades.
“We are indebted to the volunteers for their unstinting service in protecting and supporting us in times of our greatest need.”
Mr McGowan and Mr Hughes also took the opportunity to celebrate community projects such as the community-driven Darlington Pavilion and changeroom upgrades, which benefited from a $100,000 State Government grant, a $30,000 State Government funded food van for the Rotary Club of Mundaring and new lighting for the Mundaring Tennis Club.