26 September 2023

Awards smoked out for forestry firefighters

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Seventeen ForestrySA firefighters have been recognised nationally for their contributions during the Cudlee Creek Bushfire.

Chief Executive of ForestrySA, Julian Speed said National Emergency Medals were approved by the Governor-General, in recognition of sustained service during the nationally significant fire which devasted the Adelaide Hills in December 2019.

Mr Speed said ForestrySA fire crews spent 12 consecutive days on the fireground battling blazes on both private and public land.

He said the medal presentation was held at the ForestrySA Kuitpo Head Office on Wednesday 15 December, the second anniversary of the fire and were recognition of a long and arduous job well done.

During the bushfire, crews also maintained fire response coverage across ForestrySA’s 20,000ha Kuitpo, Mount Crawford and Second Valley forest estate.

“More than 450ha of ForestrySA plantation and native bushland were lost in the fire, leading to the immediate closure of the Cudlee Creek Forest Reserve and popular visitor site Fox Creek Bike Park, and a $1 million damage bill,” Mr Speed said.

“As a registered Country Fire Service (CFS) fire brigade in our own right, ForestrySA firefighters are highly trained, backed by a fleet of specialised fire appliances and dedicated members of the Adelaide Hills firefighting community,” he said.

“As part of our commitment to community fire protection, we respond to fires both on our own land and to assist our neighbours in surrounding areas.

“Notably, on the first day of the fire, our crews were able to save the home and property of a well-known Lenswood vigneron and winemaking family,” Mr Speed said. .

“It’s positive outcomes like these that make what we do so worthwhile,” the Chief Executive said.

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