Fire efforts garner awards

Rapturous applause filled Coronation Park on Saturday when the Rural Fire Service (RFS) was recognised for its work during the fire emergency earlier this month.

RFS volunteers worked for days to attack the Cobbler Road bushfire that destroyed almost 14,000 hectares.

At the Australia Day breakfast, Mayor Rowena Abbey presented Michael Gray, RFS Group One captain, an award which served as thanks to all the volunteers.

“Our local community owes a lot to the selfless acts of over 500 local and out-of-area RFS volunteers that were involved in fighting the recent fire at Bookham,” Cr Abbey said.

“RFS volunteers give freely of their own time to help protect our property and lives.”

She said the award was a one-off due to the extraordinary circumstances this year.

“Because it had been a reasonably exceptional start to the year, we thought we’d just make a special category.

“It was just a thank-you really, to everyone.”

Yassfm, the local community radio station, received a mayor’s award for community service in excellent communication for its work during the fire.

The station stayed on-air 24-hours-a-day while the bushfire was posing a threat to homes.

The mayor told the crowd about 16 volunteers from Yassfm worked hard to man the station throughout the Bookham and more recent Boorowa fire.

“The commitment displayed by these volunteers demonstrates Yassfm 100.3’s dedication to our local community during times of need,” Cr Abbey said.

The station’s president Jan Wilson accepted the award on behalf of the community group.

The Yass Tribune was also announced as an award winner for keeping the community informed while the fire ripped through rugged country west of Yass.

Tribune staff worked through the night to update the website and Facebook page, and answer questions for nervous residents.

"What is truly special about the Yass Tribune is that the organisation was not obliged to undertake this activity," Cr Abbey said.

"They did so using their own initiative and the Facebook page demonstrates the organisation's genuine commitment to our community."

The community's appreciation was evident in the number of letters, calls and comments received since the fire.

"The Trib was just happy that we were able to be useful during a difficult time for people, and that the information we were passing on prevented a lot of panic," managing editor Karan Gabriel said.

For a photo gallery featuring all the award winners, click here.

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