More volunteers needed at some Central fire stations

More volunteers are needed at the Omakau Volunteer Fire Brigade to help lighten the load of...
More volunteers are needed at the Omakau Volunteer Fire Brigade to help lighten the load of existing members, who include (from left) Scott Bowman, Grant Sinnamon, Bill Cockburn, Lloyd Harris and Adam Rubie. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Up to three fire crews in Central Otago are in need of more volunteers, Fire and Emergency New Zealand says.

Fire Service Central-North Otago manager Keith McIntosh said the Omakau station was "the main focus'' for recruitment.

Omakau Volunteer Fire Brigade chief fire officer Lloyd Harris said ideally the brigade needs another five in total to bring it "up to muster''.

"It's quite similar throughout the country.''

Getting younger people into the role had proved difficult.

"The young ones don't want to do it. It's a big commitment every Monday night [for training purposes].''

Scott Bowman is one of Omakau Volunteer Fire Brigade's newest recruits.

He joined about a year ago, soon after moving to the area.

"I wanted to start meeting people,'' he said.

"It's well worth it.''

The volunteer fire brigade has a range of options for people, from full fire brigade duties through to operations support roles. Volunteers were needed across each of those sectors.

Roxburgh and Millers Flat crews were running teams of 15 and 16 volunteers respectively and could "both do with a couple more volunteers,''

Mr McIntosh said.

Elsewhere, other areas of Central Otago were well resourced.

"Central Otago is looking good,'' Mr McIntosh said.

"There's certainly no crisis.''

He confirmed Ranfurly was, at present, running 23 volunteers.

The Naseby Fire Brigade has 16.

Naseby Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Roger Murphy said there was a ``nationwide shortage''.

"We're lucky. [Our numbers] are up at the moment.''

Alexandra Volunteer Fire Brigade Chief Fire Officer Russell Anderson confirmed there was a ``waiting list of about five people''.

There is a total ban on lighting any fires in open air, for urban and rural areas in Central Otago at present.

Fire season prohibitions for Lake Hawea, Luggate, Queenstown Red Zone and Wanaka were also in place as of yesterday. - Additional reporting by Alexia Johnston


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