Narooma's all-girl crew rushes to Currowan bushfire

BAPTISM OF FIRE: Zhoe Hart, Jane Taylor, Julie Hinchey and Sophie Taylor rushed to help fight the Currowan blaze on December 5.
BAPTISM OF FIRE: Zhoe Hart, Jane Taylor, Julie Hinchey and Sophie Taylor rushed to help fight the Currowan blaze on December 5.

It was the town's first all-woman crew - two rookies and a mother and daughter combo - and it was against a veritable beast of a fire.

As part of the Eurobodalla strike team on the NSW South Coast, the Narooma Rural Fire Service stepped up as an out-of-control blaze threatened towns and villages last week.

Narooma RFS captain Sophie Taylor coordinated crews for night shifts.

"They start at 3pm and come home at about 4-4.30am," she explained.

To go straight from training to fighting a fire was nerve-racking.

Sophie Taylor

"It just happened to fall in place," Ms Taylor said. "I am fairly certain it is Narooma's first all-woman crew to attend a fire.

"Crews are made up, depending on who is available and the level of qualifications."

The crew was Ms Taylor, her mother Jane, Zhoe Hart and Julie Hinchey.

It was Ms Hart and Ms Hinchey's first fire on one of the most "horrendous" days imaginable.

"To go straight from training to fighting a fire was nerve-wracking for them," Ms Taylor said.

"I was also a bit nervous, because I was in charge of them, but they performed extremely well.

"They both said it was a real eye opener - coming straight from their firefighting course into the real thing - they learnt a lot."

The all-woman crew of Narooma Rural Fire Service face the Currowan fire on Thursday, December 5.

The all-woman crew of Narooma Rural Fire Service face the Currowan fire on Thursday, December 5.

The crew was sent to South Durras to control spot fires near a caravan park.

"The southerly soon hit and gave us relief," she said.

The crew moved to the Princes Highway to protect properties.

"There was a shed lost, but nothing extreme," Ms Taylor said.

To finish their shift, they ended up patrolling the Kings Highway looking for breaches in the containment line.

"Once you're there, you don't think about it," Ms Taylor said. "When you're faced with something, you just get in there and get it done."

She said women can complete the same qualifications as men and hoped more will join.

"I work with a bunch of blokes - at the end of the day they have your back whether they are male for female."

This story The all-female crew that just 'fell into place' first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.