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New airstrip to help fight fires from above

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May 17, 2017

Senior Assistant Commissioner Bruce McDonald (left) and former Conargo Shire mayor Norm Brennan (right) with Conargo RFS volunteer firefighter Phillip Rose who was honoured for more than 60 years of service.

RFS deputy group officer Chris Barron, Murrumbidgee Council Local Representation Committee chair Ruth McRae, Murrumbidgee Council engineer David Tamlyn and NSW RFS Senior Assistant Commissioner Bruce McDonald at the opening of the new airstrip.

The NSW Mid Murray Rural Fire Service celebrated the official opening of Jerilderie’s new airstrip and the achievements of veteran volunteers on Friday.

At a ceremony held in Jerilderie, NSW RFS Senior Assistant Commissioner Bruce McDonald congratulated the members of the Mid Murray Zone on the official opening of their new airstrip.

‘‘The new airstrip will enable volunteers to provide an even greater level of protection to the local community and was constructed to improve the aviation response capabilities to Jerilderie and surrounding areas.

‘‘The existing airstrip was often unavailable due to its positioning in relation to wind direction on the majority of high fire danger days.’’

Mid Murray Zone RFS operations coordinator Inspector Jim Puniard said the new airstrip faces west, which will allow aircraft to take off and land in strong wind.

Construction on the airstrip began in June 2016 and was completed in March this year.

Works included the addition of a 100,000 litre water tank to facilitate quick turnaround for aviation firefighting resources.

Friday’s ceremony also recognised the ongoing commitment of volunteers to the local community, with Conargo’s Phillip Rose honoured for more than 60 years of service.

Other veteran volunteers honoured included Ross Wells (56 years), Colin Bull and Richard Walker (52 years), Jeffrey Rose (43 years) and Phillip Gregory (39 years).

A new command vehicle was also handed over to the Mid Murray Zone.

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