GROWING up I always used to see television and media talk about firefighters as heroes. And I do get it.
But also, for me, the firefighters I actually saw were my dad or my friends' dads - just regular blokes.
The past few years has brought home just how horrific it can be at the fire front. When everyone else's instinct is to flee or hide from the fire, there are hundred of people heading towards it, often for days!
On really hot days, they put on layers of clothing and heat to where it's even hotter.
Just attacking and retreating and planning and doing a lot of little things that add up to make a big difference.
I think what makes the CFS - and its interstate equivalents - so incredible is that these are not people for whom it's a full-time job. These are volunteers.
They're more at home on a tractor, on a saleyard rail, in their small business, rather than being professionals.
This also goes for those in farm firefighting units who just turn up when they're needed.
It's also the case for the SES. When most want to shelter from the rain and storms, they're out there, helping people.
In some ways, calling them heroes is a bit misleading. Because of course they are heroic but you kind of expect that from a hero.
I think it's more meaningful to remember these are ordinary people who do extraordinary things and somehow tame one of mother nature's biggest threats.
That makes the loss of any of these volunteers more heartbreaking.
Louise, you will be missed.
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