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NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers from the Border — and four Wodonga firefighters — hit the road last night to help fight raging fires around Sydney.
Their move came as blizzard conditions erupted at Mount Hotham and Falls Creek yesterday, with snow blanketing the resorts with under five centimetres.
Fire crews from Jindera, Lavington, Corowa, Mullengandra and Holbrook were told to pack their bags at 3pm yesterday.
The 24 firefighters and five tankers were on the road three hours later.
They will be joined by the four Wodonga Country Fire Authority firefighters who will be involved in ground observing, mapping the fire perimeter to give a more accurate picture of the fires.
RFS Southern Border team manager George Alexander took the call from head office yesterday.
“They requested a strike team be deployed in Sydney to assist with the ongoing fires,” he said.
“Exactly what part of Sydney they are going to I am not quite sure at this stage — that will be determined while they are travelling.”
Mr Alexander said there were concerns a change in wind direction would affect the fires.
“They have already lost houses and this will go on for a number of days, I would reckon.”
The crew is expected back on Monday, but a “fresh crew” may be sent to replace them.
Mr Alexander was last night remaining behind to hold the fort.
Southern Group captain Murray Cook is leading the crew.
“It’s the thing we do to help others out,” he said.
“If we were in the same predicament, I dare say they would help us out.”
In the ski resorts, people were battling to keep warm in blizzard conditions with a wind chill of minus 16 degrees and wind gusts of up to 96 km/h.
Hotham and Falls Creek spokesman Gina Woodward had her parents in mind last night after their neighbouring town near Sydney was evacuated due to fire.