THEY signed on to be volunteers yet, for the last two weeks, rural firefighters have been working full-time to protect homes across south-east Queensland.
Brigade members from the Gold Coast hinterland to the base of the Toowoomba Range have been joining forces with urban auxiliary crews to fight dozens of bushfires since August, but it has been over the last fortnight that their resolve has really been tested.
Exhausted volunteers from the Ripley Valley rurals yesterday marked 60 continuous days of fire activity, with crews racking up 2400 man hours. The Ripley volunteers provide a good indication of what the region's volunteers have been up to.
First officer George Ganzenmuller said the recent fire between Redbank Plains and Greenbank was the largest in his area in recent memory.
"Some members have had to take their annual leave so that they can keep fighting the fires," he said. "It is a big cost to the community as well as the firefighters personally but it has to be done."
QFRS director of rural operations Corey Bock said while the fire at Springfield was under control, rural crews had worked through Wednesday night to protect several homes near Little Mt Edwards, west of Boonah.
Fires were also burning in the Lockyer State Forest near Grantham and Black Duck Creek, near Gatton.
Ripley Valley Rural Brigade members will be at Bunnings Booval from 8.30am tomorrow to answer questions about the recent bushfires.
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- Residents in bushfire-affected areas are urged to monitor their properties and, if they believe their home is under threat, to phone 000 immediately
- Residents in these areas are advised to keep their doors and windows closed and, if they are susceptible to respiratory illnesses, to keep their medication close by
- Regular updated information will be provided on the QFRS website at ruralfire.qld.gov.au or at fire.qld.gov.au