Lennox Head RFS member Doug Langdon â€
Lennox Head RFS member Doug Langdon â€" Volunteer Member Shane Smallcombe

The story behind that amazing fire fighter photo

FIREFIGHTERS from several brigades worked around the clock with shifts up to 14 hours to keep a Lennox Head bushfire contained over the weekend.

At least 33 properties at Alison Ave and Coopers Close were to the boundary of the 473-hectare smouldering blaze, which occasionally broke out in flames.

On Friday night, flames jumped up to 30m after crossing Ross Lane, then windy conditions on Saturday caused a flare-up on Coast Rd.

After a week of burning, half-a-dozen multi-million-dollar properties at Linnaeus estate were still considered within exposure range.

Volunteers braved difficult wetland terrain and two water bombers were tasked to pick up water from Lake Ainsworth to douse the fire.

Lennox Head Rural Fire Brigade president Monty Gibbs praised the combined brigades' efforts and the community's help.

"The operation was very professional all the way from the top to the fighters on the ground; it was outstanding work by everyone," Mr Gibbs said.

"We were donated overnight accommodation; there were residents saying 'come and get ice from our machine', and young children making us cakes," he said.

"I just couldn't be more proud."

Captain Bill McKenzie said after being on call all week, brigades were relieved conditions eased last night, with a 95% chance of rain and thunderstorms.

"There's certainly not a lot left to burn," he said.

"As a volunteer, when it drags on for a week it gets pretty tough, but we do get a lot of help from the community.

"Yesterday the donations of food and drinks was fantastic, I think all the brigades appreciated it very much.

"Everyone is well aware of what's at stake and they work wonderfully well together."


Fire fighters worked around the clock to battle a smouldering blaze north of Lennox Head on Saturday and Sunday.
Firefighters in Ross Lane at Lennox Head containing a blaze that has been burning for several days. Contributed

Deputy Captain Shane Smallcombe took the photo of Doug Langdon, featured on the Northern Star front page.

"We were up there mopping up (putting out any hotspots) in some of the scrub fire that was burning east of the Coast Rd," Mr Smallcombe said.

"Doug is a transfer volunteer from Taree who started started here two weeks ago after been in the service a few years, so he got a good initiation. ," he said.

"I was taking the photo so we could get a reference of him to how much burnt area was in there, because before that I had a photo without him and it was all black with no reference points.


Lennox Head RFS members Phil Bradley - Volunteer Member, Bill McKenzie - Captain, Julia Slingsby - Volunteer Member and Doug Langdon - Volunteer Member
TOP TEAM: Lennox Head RFS volunteer member Phil Bradley, Captain Bill McKenzie, volunteer Julia Slingsby and volunteer Doug Langdon at the Lennox Head fire. Shane Smallcombe

"Sent to our district office to have a look at to establish how big the burned out area was.

"It was about 80 metres wide by about 300 metres long.

"There's been an incredible reaction to it really, a great show of community spirit. I think it was just one of those lucky moment photos."

By Sunday afternoon tired firefighters were hopeful the blaze was under control and cooling.

Lennox Head Rural Fire Brigade desperately needs volunteers.

To joins its crew of 12 the next meeting is on Wednesday, February 22.


Fire fighters worked around the clock to battle a smouldering blaze north of Lennox Head on Saturday and Sunday.
Fire fighters worked around the clock to battle a smouldering blaze north of Lennox Head on Saturday and Sunday. Contributed