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Drought and ageing populations dwindle rural fire brigades ahead of bushfire season

Rural New South Wales communities are struggling to attract volunteer firefighters ahead of what is expected to be a serious fire season.

Some of the issues facing fire brigades in the central west, north west and far west of the state are: drought, changing demographics, new fire-fighting technology, and a lack of new recruits.

For many rural communities, a fire brigade is the only emergency response team in the area, with a reliance on volunteer labour.

Among those facing a recruit shortage is the Cumnock Rural Fire Brigade in central west NSW.

Cumnock Group Captain Justin Barr said he was concerned about the trend.

"A lot of the captains and group captains of the area are getting around the 70-year-old mark," Mr Barr said.

"In another 10 years they're not going to be doing it.

 

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(ABC NEWS: 19/10/18)