9 December 2021

Batlow puts the call out to the wider region for firefighters

| Max O'Driscoll
Start the conversation

Batlow was one of the worst-hit communities during the January 2020 bushfires. Photo: Ardrossan Batlow Apples Facebook.

For many in the region, the Black Summer fires may seem like a lifetime ago but for the people of Batlow, the town once described as “undefendable”, the aftermath is something they live with each and every day.

Twenty-six homes were destroyed in the fires, a local petrol station, and many businesses and farms suffered irreversible damage.

Much like last, this summer is considered a far lower fire risk due to all the wet weather and is being viewed as a good time to prepare for the drier summers.

READ ALSO New market ‘Under the Stars’ coming to Batlow

In Batlow, the town is now calling on the surrounding region to provide assistance with both their Rural Fire Service (volunteers) and Fire and Rescue (on-call paid firefighters) looking for new members.

Darryl Watkins is Captain of the Batlow RFS Brigade and he was one of the people from Batlow on the frontline during the Black Summer fires.

He said that throughout the fires, many of those working to protect the town had no fire training at all. They were just wanting to protect their town and were willing to do whatever they could to help the RFS and the Fire and Rescue teams.

The fires, however, were something that even those with the necessary training and experience, couldn’t have ever prepared for.

READ ALSO Two years after the Black Summer bushfires, time-lapse video captures remarkable regrowth of our forests

“They were the worst bushfires I’ve seen and I never want to see another one again,” said Mr Watkins.

“You just didn’t ever know where the fire was coming from. One minute it’s in front of you, one minute it’s behind you, then it’s beside you and then it’s jumped to Blowering Dam five kilometres over.”

With those memories at the forefront of their mind, the firefighters of Batlow are looking to be as prepared as they can be before the next bushfires arrive.

While they’ve made some new additions to their firefighter crew, they would like to make more and would also like to give them ample time for training and development.

Those interested in becoming an RFS volunteer can register interest through the Riverina Highlands Facebook page.

If interested in becoming an on-call paid firefighter, which requires more training, you can connect through the Fire and Rescue 218 Batlow Station Facebook page.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.