real life

From 14-year-old students to full-time vets: Here are just 12 of the firefighters on the bushfire frontline.

As the bushfires continue to rage with no end in sight (they’re saying this is our new normal – until March at least), we at Mamamia thought it about time we shone more of a light on the heroes on the frontline.

You’ve seen the “thankyou firey” signs on the top of sheds, hanging off homes and plastered across social media.

But who are they?

We want to put faces to the much deserved ‘thankyous.’

Reinforcements arrived for our exhausted crews from the US last week, to cheers from onlookers at Sydney airport. Post continues after video.

Video by Shane Fitzsimmons

There are thousands of Aussies pulling long hours right now to help the current bushfire crisis – in the SES, in call centres, and in animal shelters, to name a few.

But today we’re focusing on those fighting the flames.

Here are just some of the brave men and women (a lot of whom are volunteers) who are giving up their time to save our country.

Phil and Megan Davies, both 35.

Station: Narrabri RFS.

Job:  Phil is a wheat breeder and Megan is a vet.

Phil and Megan’s why: “We do it to help our community, and to work with great people in the RFS.”

Narrabri firies
Image: Supplied.

Tim Mirtschin, 17.

Station: Narrabri RFS.

Job: High school student.

Tim's why: "I fight fires for something fun to do and to play my part in the fires this season."

Tim Mirtschin
Image: Supplied.

Brendan Neville, 65.

Station: East Jindabyne RFS.

Job: Photographer.

Brendan's why: "It's my way of giving back to the community, and I do it for the camaraderie."

Brendan Neville
Image: Supplied/

Siobhan Threlfall, 24.

Station: Nerrigundah RFS.

Job: Marine scientist.

Siobhan's why: "Volunteering for the RFS is really important in my community, we are very small and surrounded by bushland so everyone wants to do their part to protect it. It's important for me to do what I can to help my community and the wildlife in my town - volunteering for the RFS allows me to help in some small way."

Siobhan firefighter
Image: Supplied.

Kale Hardie-Porter, 31.

Station: Urunga RFS.


Job: Environmental planner.

Kale's why: "I joined when I was 13 and have stayed an active member ever since. For me it's a mixture of general interest in bushfire planning and management and just giving back to the community (cliche!)."

Kale's story went viral when he left a note on Paul's fridge after saving his home. You can read his story here.

Kale Hardie
Image: Supplied.

Jeremy Kennedy, 14.

Station: Adaminaby Fire Brigade.

Job: High school student.

Jeremy's why (from Jeremy's mum): "He has always had an interest in being a fire fighter and took it upon himself to help with these horrific fires. He has gone above and beyond to help."

Image: Supplied/Bighorsepics.

Jasper Croft, 36.

Station: Wyoming NSW Fire and Rescue.

Job: Luxury horse float builder.

Jasper's Why: "It's my passion, I love it."

Image: Wyoming Fire and Rescue.

Rachel Whiteley, 27.

Station: Warringah RFS.

Job: Biodiversity officer in local government.

Rachel's why: "I'm a volunteer firefighter because I'm happy to get out in the bush, get my hands dirty and really contribute in a meaningful way to the hard hit communities. Coming from Sydney we haven't had too many major fires so I've been able to travel out a bit to those areas that really need the help right now."

Rachel Whitely
Image: Supplied.

Angel Newcombe, 32.

Station: South Bowenfels RFS.

Job: University student.

Angel's why: "Growing up surrounded by bush and seeing the devastation fire brings first-hand made me want to help the community. I’m passionate about protecting our unique wildlife and environment. It's honestly one of the most fulfilling things I have done and I encourage everyone to consider volunteering."

Angel Newcome
Image: Supplied.

Conrad Makin, 45

Station: NSW South Coast Disaster Management team.

Job: Centrelink.

Conrad's why: "I love to help my local community, plus Mum was caught in the Victoria fires around Black Saturday and firefighters saved her house so I feel that I need to pay it forward."

Image: Supplied.

Greg Blick, 19.

Station: Davidson RFS.

Job: Full-time university student.

Greg's why: "I originally joined the NSW RFS as a cadet at the age of 14 looking for some after-school activities to keep me busy. As time went on and I slowly realised how much I was enjoying the cadet program, I transitioned into the Davidson Brigade. As I settled into the brigade, I discovered that the RFS was more than what cadets taught me - it is a community of people all coming together to help those in need. I personally thrive in a productive environment where I can help people, making the work we do in the NSW RFS a perfect match for me. Complimenting the work we do in the field is all the other amazing volunteers that I am able to work side by side with and learn from. With an ever-changing situation I never know what I will be in for when I give up my time, making it all the more intriguing for me. Ever since I joined Davidson I haven’t looked back and I don’t see myself parting from the NSW RFS any time soon."

Image: Supplied.

Kieren Shepherd, 30.

Station: Narrabri RFS.

Job: Manages a wheat farm.

Kieren's why: "Some days I wonder why I am a firefighter, but mostly I do it just to help out, because someone's got to do it!"

Kieren from Narrabri
Image: Supplied.
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