Local legends: Our fireys head south to help fight fires
FOUR Western Downs rural firefighters have travelled more than 1000km to provide much-needed relief on the frontlife of the worst bushfire disaster in Australia's history.
The local heroes are a part of the 70 firefighters across Queensland sent to New South Wales and Victoria to relieve exhausted crews on the ground who have been defending homes and lives since September.
Tara local Gregory Olsson and second officer in command at the Bennett fire station made the journeysouth to Shoalhaven in Canberra to help out his fellow Aussies, even though he's in his 60s and sporting a steel hip and steel two knees.
Mr Olsson wasn't worried fighting fires down south just cautious he said, because he has a great crew that always watches each other's back - Janice Pittaway first officer from Tolmah, Warren Hearn and John Ruddiman first officer from Weranga.
The man of steel said the fresh crews from Queensland would be going down for three or four days, and then another wave of QRFS firefighters will take over.
"The firefighters down there have been doing this for so long, they've given up their Christmas and New Year's Eve," Mr Olsson said.
"I'm just going down there to hopefully give them a bit of a hand and give them some rest - to help them however I can.
"I never thought we'd face anything this bad in Australia at all, it's one of the worst fires I think I've ever seen in my life."
Usually fighting fires by his son's side, Mr Olsson's family knows a thing or two about battling blazes - with his wife, daughter, son, grandson and his partner also being members of the QRFS.
"Because we are in a very dangerous situation in Tara region and Dalby… they're all staying behind more or less being there in case there is anything else in this region," he said.
"A lot of people ask 'who's going to be here in case a fire breaks out?' Well in Bennett we've got over 18 active fire members, five fire trucks, and two sheds.
"We're about one of the biggest fire brigades in the area, so we don't forget our home."
New South Wales and Victoria are bracing for more dangerous conditions Friday with temperatures set to surpass 40 degrees, creating serious concerns of a mega fire - with the fires burning in the Blue Mountains joining up with fires in Lithgow.
Firefighters are now racing against time to carry out containment burns so that doesn't happen.