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Frontline firefighter

ON CALL: Jason Bruessow of the remote area firefighter team based in Casino.
ON CALL: Jason Bruessow of the remote area firefighter team based in Casino. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

IF YOU'RE sick of the daily grind, spare a thought for Jason Bruessow, who at any time might receive a call telling him he will be winched from a helicopter into the middle of a bushfire.

The remote area firefighter is one of the specialists on hand at Casino's Rural Fire Service headquarters this bushfire season who could be deployed anywhere around the state to a fire emergency.

An RFS volunteer for the past six years, 24 year-old Mr Bruessow said remote area firefighters can be winched into an area a fire truck can't reach, or are sometimes required to walk several kilometres carrying heavy gear including, chainsaws, axes, blowers and drip torches to the fire front.

Once on the ground near the fire, Mr Bruessow said messages could be relayed to water bombing aircraft, or back burns could be initiated.

"If we need water to target a certain area we will point them there."

Mr Bruessow said remote area firefighters usually worked in groups of four and could be required to fight the fire on the ground while aircraft bombed with water.

He said the best advice for anyone caught in a bushfire was to try to get to the 'safe' burnt areas.

To become a remote area firefighter you have to be a member of the RFS for at least three years and undergo various training which includes night-time and bush navigation, map reading, helicopter winch skills and aviation training.

Anyone interested in joining can phone Casino Rural Fire Service Headquarters on 6663 0000.



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