Firey Tales

Captain’s Message

Whilst the year is not yet over, the brigade has responded to 57 local incidents to date (33 fires, 10 MVAs and 14 other types of callouts). There has been a lot of fire activity recently around the local area and statewide. There have been many requests to provide members to assist in North NSW as well as several local fires in Kangaroo Valley. The brigade continues to provide resources to lead training in specialised areas such as chainsaw operations and response driving. Ten new operational members have been added to the brigade. 

When burning off it is important to monitor the fire and have water and equipment to control it. It is your responsibility to ensure all notifications are given, permits obtained, weather conditions monitored, fire danger warnings for coming days checked, and to ensure that the fire does not escape the controlled area. Do not rely solely on any notification from the NSW RFS of suspension of permits. The RFS will investigate the cause of any fire, including escaped pile burns, and may issue either a warning letter or impose substantial fines for any breaches.

Captain Dusty 

0412 865 638

Incidents for the month

There were six Incidents for the previous month:

  • A bushfire in the Upper Kangaroo River area.
  • A Motor Vehicle Accident to the east of the village.
  • A single vehicle Motor Vehicle Accident west of the old Barrengarry store. The driver was uninjured but unable to exit the car due to medical concerns. Crew members assisted Police and Ambulance with traffic management and recovery before the patient was taken to hospital for a routine checkup. 
  • An incident call to a tree down in the Barrengarry area.
  • A call to a bush fire to the west of the village caused by an escaped pile burn. This burnt out an area of approximately 2ha with crews conducting a back-burn around the perimeter to prevent the fire burning into steep and inaccessible country. Chainsaw crews felled several burning and dead trees to prevent them sending embers into unburnt country. With no water available on-site, large fire tankers from Beaumont and West Nowra brigades were used to supply all three Kangaroo Valley trucks. 
  • A call to power line wires down and arcing to the east of the village resulting in a small grass fire on the roadside impacting a large pile of silage bales.

Brigade news

The brigade held a social evening at the Kangaroo Valley Country Club for over 50 members and their families. This was originally scheduled for the end of the 2019/20 fire season. The brigade took the opportunity to award a life membership to Neil Breeze, who has been a member for almost 30 years, serving in numerous roles including Captain, Senior Deputy Captain, Deputy Captain, Community Engagement and Training Officers. He was heavily involved in local and district training for the last 21 years. Unfortunately, Neil and his partner Mandy are leaving the area and will be a big loss to the brigade and local area.

Shoalhaven RFS Fire Control Superintendent Matt Reeves also awarded clasps to medals for Lorraine Mairinger for 40 years’ service and Jingles Chittick 2nd Clasp National Medal for 35 years’ service, along with numerous other training certificates. The brigade also thanked former Group 1 Captain Andrew Fielding, who stepped down this year, for his service. 


Congratulations to our group of eight local men and women who have recently completed their basic training course and are now qualified as Bush Firefighters to be part of the team ready to respond to incidents. It was very pleasing to note that a quarter of these were women, helping to boost our growing numbers of females in the ranks.

Pile Burns and Burning Off

As the Bush Fire Danger Period (BFDP) is in operation the following tasks are mandatory prior to lighting up:

  1. Obtain a Fire Permit from a local Fire Permit Officer via:
    1.  Phone: Shoalhaven FCC 02 4424 4424 between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday
    2.  Email: Shoalhaven FCC or the brigade
  2. You must notify the NSW RFS (not the local brigade) at least 24 hours before you light the fire and provide the issued fire permit number. Notification methods include:
    1.  Online: or via the QR code 
    2.  Phone: Shoalhaven FCC 02 4424 4424 between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday
    3.  Email: Shoalhaven FCC
  3. You must advise your immediate neighbours at least 24 hours before you light the fire. Immediate neighbours include those where you are separated by a road or water course. 
  4. You must adhere to all the conditions listed on the fire permit, including at least one responsible person must be present on site until the pile is extinguished. 
  5. Check for any messages from Shoalhaven Fire Control Centre and the NSW RFS Fire Danger Ratings webpages as fire permits may be suspended if weather conditions dictate.
  6. Check the upcoming weather conditions as the pile may continue to smoulder for days. 
  7. If you believe that you cannot safely control the fire once it has been lit dial 000 immediately.

Consider notifying your local WhatsApp Neighbourhood Group, and ask the coordinator to share any plans with other group coordinators if expected weather conditions mean smoke is likely to travel some distance. Smoke does not respect property boundaries. 

Where the brigade is assisting local community members with burns, the responsibility for notifications remains with the property owner, but the brigade will attempt to post Facebook updates about planned brigade activities if there is a significant volume of smoke expected. Changing weather conditions may mean brigade updates are provided with short notice.   

If you have concerns about burning off yourself, please contact the local brigade or Shoalhaven Fire Control, and we can possibly assist you with your pile burn or check your site for you. 

Compiled by Gary Matthews