Rural Fire Service crews from the Hastings will help in Sydney over Christmas

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Superintendent Guy Duckworth from the Rural Fire Service urges everyone to stay alert and have a bushfire plan, and have a safe Christmas.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE: Superintendent Guy Duckworth from the Rural Fire Service urges everyone to stay alert and have a bushfire plan, and have a safe Christmas.

Firefighters from the Port Macquarie region are giving up their Christmas holidays to fight blazes elsewhere in New South Wales.

Despite tackling our worst-ever fire season non-stop since August this year, many Rural Fire Service volunteers from the Hastings are heading to more troubled spots.

Superintendent Guy Duckworth at NSW RFS in Wauchope said they would help out in other parts of New South Wales where bushfires are still burning and homes and lives are in danger.

"They are tired. They are exhausted. They will keep giving more. Here, we have firefighters out over the Christmas break, although we have reduced numbers because of the weather.

"We are also sending strike teams down to Sydney. None of this will stop until we get good rainfall," he warned.

Deputy Incident Controller Superintendent Duckworth urged people in the Hastings to keep up their guard against bushfires over the holidays.

"We want everyone to have a safe Christmas. The hot, dry weather will return, and people cannot become complacent. Have a bushfire plan, no matter where you live," he advised.

Volunteer firefighters Andrew O'Dwyer, 36, and Geoffrey Keaton, 32, died fighting fires south-west of Sydney.

Volunteer firefighters Andrew O'Dwyer, 36, and Geoffrey Keaton, 32, died fighting fires south-west of Sydney.

He paid tribute to the RFS firefighters and young fathers, Geoff Keaton and Andrew O'Dwyer, whose deaths rocked the tight-knit western Sydney community after a tree fell in the path of their fire truck causing it to roll near the town of Buxton.

"It was a tragic accident, something that the Rural Fire Service does not want to hear. Our firefighters are very aware of their safety, and what they have to do, but sometimes accidents do occur," he said.

"Thank you to everyone in the community for your support, and have a good, safe Christmas," he added.