It has been a tough month.
You've probably seen in the news the proliferation of fires around the country at the moment. I work for an Agency that is responsible for fire suppression on public land, so it is probably no surprise that much of my time in the past month has been focused on assisting the fire efforts.
While I won't go into specifics - probably not the place for it - I will try and paint a picture for you.
It started out in early Jan (at this point I can't even remember dates) assisting with some NSW fires - some managed from our side of the border, some managed from theirs. It did involve a NSW deployment for a string of night shifts in one of their Incident Control Centres.
A few more small fires around here and some single day deployments.
The big campaign so far has been the NE Vic fires. I was on the first shift last week when the fire broke containment lines. This happened towards the end of the day, so having already worked a full day, it meant working close to a 24 hour shift. This then continued into a week of night shifts and then a week of day shifts.
And when the fire broke lines again this week, I had worked a day shift, which then continued through the night into a 24 hour shift. Luckily it was toward the end of my tour, so I now have a couple of days off before heading back next week.
I can handle the work. It is tough and stressful, but it is also rewarding in that I get to work as part of a larger team planning and delivering the suppression efforts. But it is tough. Standard 12 hour shifts generally morph into 14 or 15 hours by the time you get to and from home.
The toughest bit is leaving the family. Els basically has to become a single parent while I'm away - I leave at 6am and get home at 9pm. With a (nearly) 6 month old kid in the house, this is hard to do, and Els is doing a fantastic job.
I don't know how long this is going to go on for. This campaign could potentially drag on for weeks - who knows.
Well, I have a couple of days off now, so I need to rest up, relax and get ready for next week.