People wanted to help fight fire
AS experienced rural firefighter Larry Coleman battled last year's dangerous Rockhampton blazes, he was struck by how many people wanted to help, but couldn't.
“We had that many people approaching us while we were on the ground wanting to help, but because they weren't trained we couldn't use them,” Larry said.
“It really had the potential to be another Canberra fire and if that wind would have come up more we would have suffered a lot of losses.”
Larry is keen to see a Rockhampton taskforce of volunteer firefighters started, and after last year's ordeal, he pitched his idea to the authorities.
“I'm waiting for an answer at the moment from the fire commissioner,” Larry said yesterday as he joined fellow firefighters and the many others who attended a barbecue in Rockhampton on the first anniversary of the bushfires.
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service central region rural operations manager Superintendent John Fisher said he hoped work could start on a Rockhampton taskforce before Christmas with the aim of having it in place before next year's fire season.
Superintendent Fisher said he had put together a business plan from Larry's proposal which had been presented to the fire hierarchy.
“I think we should know pretty soon,” Superintendent Fisher said.
Mr Coleman had previously said he could muster 150 Rockhampton people keen to volunteer and many businesses had already indicated they would be likely to support such a service.