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Understorey: Fighting Fires

Thursday 6th February / presented by Elizabeth PO’ Adrian Glamorgan

What's it like to be a volunteer firefighter in New South Wales?  Understorey reporter Adrian Glamorgan speaks with Paul Cockram, volunteer firey with the Mongarlowe, NSW, Rural Firefighter Service (RFS), in an interview recorded 14 January.  We hear a little of what it might be like to head off to a fire, smell the smoke, hear the eucalypts crashing down as flames engulfs one tree after another, and work as a small team to prepare the backburn ahead. Australia's worst summer season of fire has meant some volunteers have contributed 60 days at a stretch, which is why there's now a payment system for volunteers who've worked more than ten. Australia part-compensates the volunteers who go out on a call, knowing the wrong conditions could make it the worst day of the firefighter's life.   But the federal government's policy throws up anomalies: it means the richly salaried will receive compensation of up to $300 a day, and the Newstart or pension recipient with nothing.  Part 3 in an ongoing series, to resume in a few weeks. (Photos supplied by P.Cockram)

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In ecology, the understorey grows where light shines through the forest canopy.

Our award-winning Understorey journalists highlight local and globally-connected environmental issues that the other media commonly pass over.

RTRFM’s long-running dedicated environment program makers Adrian Glamorgan and Elizabeth PO’ bring together stories from near and sometimes afar, whether it be conservationists rehabilitating habitat, citizen scientists gathering data, campaigners at the frontline, or decision-makers at their desks, seeking solutions together to the challenges affecting our shared air, water, land and life processes.

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