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16 weeks on the NSW fire front

14 February 2020
Thank you Scott!

By day, Scott Hart is a Customer Relationship Manager writing loans and working with customers at Braidwood Community Bank Branch.

By night, and in fact for 16 weeks straight, it was Captain Scott Hart and his strike team battling unprecedented blazes through NSW.

At Bendigo Bank, Scott has almost become an urban legend – the staff member who was out fighting fires for 16 weeks. It’s not a myth, it did happen.

At the beginning of November 2019 Scott was on one month’s annual leave from the branch.

For Scott, Captain of the Braidwood RFS Brigade, what else would you do on your leave but head north to Grafton to fight fires. From then, it didn’t really stop until the end of January 2020.

On 26 November, while Scott and his strike team were near Grafton, the fires were moving towards Braidwood.

In his 37 years in the RFS, Scott has never seen anything like these fires. ‘It was the intensity and the longevity.’

‘We saw land burning that had never burnt before. For years we had dodged a bullet – it was our turn.’

Scott is back at Braidwood Community Bank branch. The town has a BlazeAid camp set up with volunteers replacing fencing.

‘Braidwood, as a community, was not in danger itself but we were cut off when the road between Canberra and the coast closed. It was desolate.’

‘These fires, as devastating as they have been, have brought out the best in people.’

‘People have been coming in just to buy from our local shops and businesses. They’ve bought pies and ice creams that they probably didn’t even want but they just wanted to help. There really is good in everyone.’

Braidwood RFS walking in burnt out bushland.
Braidwood RFS team with their fire truck.

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