With weather predictions of high temperatures and strong winds, residents of the Blue Mountains braced themselves for another long summer with the events of last summer still freshly etched in their memories.
Friday 14th of November was a hot day, reaching to 40⁰C by early afternoon. Hearts sunk when telltale smoke began to rise from forests in the lower Blue Mountains around 2.30pm. The wind was steady, the humidity was low and the eucalypts were dry………the recipe was perfect for a serious bushfire. Fire crews rushed from all over the mountains and Western Sydney to combat the fire which was beginning to threaten property at Warrimoo, only 10km’s from Penrith.
By 4pm the NSW Rural Fire Service had contacted the RRT requesting 250 meals be provided for tea. With the staging area location unconfirmed, the Penrith and Katoomba RRT swung into action, purchasing food, drinks and supplies for an event that had potential to be long and serious.
It was soon confirmed that the staging area would be Glenbrook oval, and the RRT converged on the location and were serving tea by 7.30pm to droves of weary fire fighters. The winds remained steady as more fire crews rolled in from other areas of NSW to fight the foe while the RRT volunteers worked tirelessly into the night, serving 388 meals for tea.
By Saturday morning, weather conditions had eased. However, with more bad weather predicted, huge numbers of fire crews had been called in to install containment lines and continue fighting the fire still burning, with the assistance of aircraft. RRT was on site serving breakfast by 5.30am to 360 fire and emergency workers and continued on to serve lunch to a massive crowd of 580 and evening meal to 270.
Fire fighters did an outstanding job, and by Saturday night all containment lines had been completed and the fire was nearly completely extinguished, apart from a couple of minor hot spots which were monitored overnight.
RRT continued catering throughout Sunday and was then able to pack up on Sunday night. A total number of 2071 meals were served from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.
A big thanks to the many volunteer fire fighters who, once again, sacrificed their weekend and risked their lives to protect the communities of the Blue Mountains