Whilst many of us in the industry were on long overdue Christmas Holidays, the impact of the Australian Bushfires and the gravity of the crisis were immediately felt as Army Reservists were called into duty to assist in Bushfire affected zones. As an active combat engineer in the Reserves, one of our up and coming technicians was called into duty in the New Year.
“As combat engineers, we were tasked to fell, cross cut and clear trees in fire affected areas in the Gippsland region. We worked with local civilian arborists who assessed the health and risk of each tree with a focus on conservation. Unfortunately the fires had caused damage to many of the trees, which became unstable and posed the threat of falling over roads and emergency routes used by firies and the people who live in these areas.”
Remaining unnamed, she was one of three chainsaw teams in the Gippsland region stationed out of Bairnsdale at the time before the full reserve call out took effect. This was the main responsibility of her corps in the operation. Other reservists were supplying food, water and medical supplies to affected towns, providing rescue and care for animals, or setting up emergency tent accommodation for the displaced residents who had to evacuate their homes or did not have homes to return to.
We have been fortunate in the past week to be able to have her back to duties with WHA working on high rise buildings in the Docklands. As the first weeks of the New Year across the city have been affected by days of smoke haze and visibility, we pay respects for those who willfully place their own circumstances aside to dedicate their time to helping our nation in any capacity as army reservists. We pay respect to our employee and all those army reservists, service people and volunteers who make sacrifices in this unprecedented bushfire crisis.