OPINION: Fireys deserve a heartfelt thank you
BEING a firefighter often means being there for people on the worst day of their lives.
They are the first responders to fires, car crashes, rescue missions and medical emergencies.
They act with courage, professionalism and dedication, and foster a culture of camaraderie, openness and teamwork.
Without them, there would be far more deaths.
In the past month, towns have been burned out of existence in California and close to 100 people have died while thousands of others fled from the raging flames whipped by winds up to 110km/h.
Now, on our own shores, thousands are being told to flee the catastrophic fires burning across the state.
Police officers went door to door in the middle of the night, rousing people from their beds in Central Queensland, urging them to evacuate.
All levels of government and emergency services have fulfilled their mission, moving quickly on a major disaster by bringing critical firefighting assets and aid to the thousands who are now displaced. The flames are being fanned by high winds, record-breaking temperatures, and low humidity.
The conditions are rated as "catastrophic” and likely to continue into the weekend. However, the Bureau of Meteorology said winds would not reach the speeds seen on Wednesday, but hot and very dry conditions meant the fire danger remained very high. As more than 100 fires burn across the state - with several right here in the Burnett -the visible risks of being a firefighter are on display.
Whether they are protecting us here at home, or deployed as a strike team somewhere else, our firefighters are deserving of our ongoing respect and heartfelt thanks.