Scott Purnell, who returned from strike team work fighting fires in Port Macquarie
Scott Purnell, who returned from strike team work fighting fires in Port Macquarie Adam Hourigan

FIRE IN THE SKY: Orange blanket covers city

AS the smoke-filled, deep orange sky that encased Grafton today was an other-worldly sight more for many today, for a few it was a very familiar scene.

Retained firefighter with Fire Rescue NSW 306 Grafton station Scott Purnell was part of two crews that were sent south as part of a strike team to help with fires around Port Macquarie.

"We had crews from Grafton and South Grafton station go down, there was four that went down in the first deployment for five days, and then another team went down," Mr Purnell said.

"And yeah, this is what the sky looks like, and it even gets quite dark as the smoke gets thicker and thicker as the fire gets closer."

Mr Purnell said they spent much of their time last weekend around Lake Cathie, and their role was to repsond to Triple-0 calls from the general public.

"That could be anything from a motor vehicle accident to the fires coming through," he said.

"Everyone else was positioned, they had their spot where the fire was coming through for them to put out or work from, and we were running around for the calls."

 

An unfiltered view of Grafton's skyline as thick haze and smoke surrounds it.
An unfiltered view of Grafton's skyline as thick haze and smoke surrounds it. Adam Hourigan

Mr Purnell said that the operation were a huge operation run by RFS and said it was great to be able to ork side by side with the rural fire service, and said that Fire Rescue's job as part of hte strike teamwas on property protection.

"We're protecting people's houses, protect the irreplaceable. It sounds like a slogan, but that's what we're there for," he said.

"We have to work hard and get the job done, and we're deployed as a resource wherever we're needed."

Mr Purnell said it was a similar situation to what they had just encountered with recent fires at Angourie, with the Fire Rescue units deployed with RFS services fighting off the embers as the fires at Wooloweyah and Angourie approached the village.

With the skies in Grafton choked with smoke and deep orange, Mr Purnell said he was expecting a busy weekends as poor fire conditions continued.

"I'm honestly surprised we haven't had more callouts today with it like this," he said. "But we're here close to town ready to go out to anything that may come up around here."


Lightning strikes behind five bushfires

Lightning strikes behind five bushfires

This is the full list of Queensland bushfire alerts and evacuations

Market makes happy return 'home'

premium_icon Market makes happy return 'home'

Market move an overwhelming success.

PHOTOS: Ready to party at Schoolies in Airlie Beach

premium_icon PHOTOS: Ready to party at Schoolies in Airlie Beach

The week-long celebrations have started.