GRATITUDE: Lismore MP Janelle Saffin personally thanks members of Drake Rural Fire Service Brigade, standing from left, Kerry Bleakley, Mick Schultz, Captain Scott Corby and Laura-Bernadette; kneeling Ken Turner and Corey Laurie.
GRATITUDE: Lismore MP Janelle Saffin personally thanks members of Drake Rural Fire Service Brigade, standing from left, Kerry Bleakley, Mick Schultz, Captain Scott Corby and Laura-Bernadette; kneeling Ken Turner and Corey Laurie. Contributed

Lismore pitches in to help out

I APPLAUD the many Lismore district residents who have lent support to their western neighbours affected by the massive Long Gully Road bushfire which destroyed homes and threatened the village of Drake.

The onslaught of an early bushfire season has really tested residents of Drake and Tenterfield but their resilience has shone through when I visited the firefronts three times to offer practical and emotional support to folk who suffered losses.

A high-level visit by Premier Gladys Berejiklian and NSW State Emergency Services Minister David Elliott was welcomed. I will be following up with Minister Elliott in Sydney.

I give my heartfelt thanks to our Rural Fire Service volunteers on the ground and those highly-skilled pilots in the air who have been putting it all on the line to keep others safe from harm and to protect properties, livestock and pets.

Our other first responders, including Disaster Recovery Chaplain Peter Overton, who is the Uniting Church Resource Minister in Kyogle and Casino, have been magnificent.

I also thank the Office of Emergency Management's Wendy Graham and Jeremy Hillman, who was here for the Tabulam fires in February, police and ambulance officers, Red Cross volunteers, Communities and Justice disaster welfare officers, Local Land Services staff, State Emergency Services personnel, Roads and Maritime Services and council staff for traffic control, and the local media.

I was on the phone to ministers as was Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce to ensure that a natural disaster declaration was made as early as possible for Tenterfield Shire.

The RFS managed to control fires at Flagstone Road, Legume, and Duke Creek Road, Old Bonalbo, and with so many fires burning across the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands, and in Queensland. We are not out of the woods yet.

I encourage all residents affected by the bushfires in Tenterfield Shire to check my website www.janellesaffin.com.au or to contact my office on (02) 6621 3624 for help.