A plan by Fire and Rescue NSW to move two water tankers from Katoomba and Springwood fire stations has been met with strong resistance in the community.
Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle described the proposal as "absolutely disgusting" when she addressed a group of about 30 residents and firefighters outside Springwood Fire Station today [Saturday, November 21].
The two tankers would be reallocated to Wallerawang and Windsor under the plan.
"We want to send a message to government about the need to keep appliances that are needed in the Mountains, in the Mountains," said Ms Doyle.
"I am absolutely disgusted that anyone in government would suggest to Fire and Rescue that where there are fire tankers needed in other areas, they could move our appliances from the most fire-prone area in the world... It is robbing Peter to pay Paul.
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"I say to the government: If Windsor and Wallerawang need a water tanker, give to to them. Don't take it from our blokes."
The two tankers store more water than other fire appliances, meaning they can play a crucial role in incidents where there aren't nearby water hydrants.
Firefighters also hold fears the number of retained firefighters at Katoomba and Springwood will be reduced if the water tankers are taken away.
"This particular resource isn't just a resource that we see out there in bushfires. It's a resource that's used 365 days a year," local resident Paul Barton told the gathering in Springwood.
"It is really important that we push the government to make sure we don't lose this resource from Springwood or Katoomba. Taking it from here and putting it somewhere else doesn't actually solve the problem, it creates one," he said.
Fire Brigade Employees' Union secretary Leighton Drury added his voice to the community's campaign.
"We are literally heading into the start of a fire season and the movement of this truck to somewhere else - along with the one at Katoomba - is an outrage," he said.
Lawson resident Gary Rossetto attended Saturday's event after seeing it promoted on social media.
"This area is a fire-prone area. Why are they going to take two tankers away? We need more. It's unbelievable," he said.
A Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) spokesperson described the tanker move as a proposal and said stakeholders would be consulted about it before any final decision is made.
"Fire and Rescue NSW utilises a network of resources to address risk and periodically reviews these resource allocations to ensure best use of resources. As part of this process, options to change the location of resources within the zones have been proposed," said the spokesperson.
"These proposals will be assessed, and stakeholders consulted before any final decision on locations is made. These are operational decisions for FRNSW to consider as part of its service delivery."
The spokesperson said there will be no change to any firefighting resources or trucks during the bushfire season.
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