As more than 60 bushfires continue to burn across New South Wales and authorities prepare for catastrophic conditions this week, western region firefighters have departed to join the firefighting effort.
With more than 150 homes and structures lost and three people confirmed dead, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a state of emergency on Monday morning.
The greater Sydney region is set to be in catastrophic fire danger on Tuesday - the first time since the fire ratings were introduced a decade ago, with authorities likening the conditions similar to those during the Victorian Black Saturday fires.
A strike team comprised of 28 Country Fire Authority volunteers from district 15 and 16 - the Ballarat and Ararat regions - departed for New South Wales first thing on Monday morning in order to aid the firefighting effort. Another strike team comprised of volunteers from the two districts will travel up to NSW on Wednesday.
Despite only receiving the call on Sunday morning, dozens of volunteers put up their hands to assist.
District 16 commander Neville Collins said despite not having much time to pull a team together, they had an overwhelming response from volunteers who wanted to lend a helping hand.
With the current conditions in NSW, he said ongoing deployments were a possibility.
The strike team currently on the road will be strategically stationed at Goulburn, with catastrophic fire conditions forecast for the greater Sydney region tomorrow. After sleeping at the police academy tonight, they will join four other teams to allow local firefighters some rest. The strike team will be tasked with jobs tomorrow and will be the first response for whatever outbreak occurs in that region during the next couple of days.
The majority of the 28 volunteers are travelling across the border in a bus, while some are driving the Ararat, Avoca, Haddon, Bacchus Marsh and Daylesford tankers and strike team leader Reinhard Pohl is travelling up in a ford control vehicle.
Lieutenant Stewart Tickner of Skipton Fire Brigade immediately put up his hand when he received the call.
A CFA volunteer of 28 years who has travelled interstate many times to fight fires, he said though it was stressful for his young family for him to volunteer and put himself in danger, he wants to help people that need help.
A prison officer outside of volunteering with the CFA, Lieutenant Tickner has travelled to Sydney, Kangaroo Island and Queensland in the past to assist with the firefighting efforts.
Why does he volunteer?
It's in my blood now. When I hear somebody needs help, I put my hand up.Skipton Fire Brigade Lieutenant Stewart Tickner
The strike team will join an additional six strike teams from Northern Victoria, which stayed in Albury last night and which are heading into the Hunter Valley today.
Strike Team Leader Reinhard Pohl has been with the CFA for 40 years. The Grenville group officer has also travelled interstate to fight fires, including to fight the NSW fires in 2006.
He said the current fires burning around Sydney and the Hunter Valley were being likened to the Black Saturday fires but that did not stop the dozens of selfless volunteers stepping away from their families and commitments to join the fire fighting effort.
"These people are volunteers who have taken a week off work, whether with support from their employers or from their own businesses," he said. "Some are farmers who are missing a week of work to fight these fires."
The strike team will remain in NSW for at least three days and will work 12 hour shifts.
There are also more than 50 fires burning across Queensland.
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