Karen Hodges ASFM, Superintendent and Fire Control Officer for the Hawkesbury RFS, launches the Brigade’s book on its 70 year history and the history of fire in the district at a well attended gathering of the Kurrajong Heights community at the Xmas party at the Ridge.

Karen spoke about her 35 year experience in the RFS in the Hawkesbury and our journey from the tiny garage at Tomah Street to the station we currently occupy. She paid a tribute to all our members and particularly those that gave up so much during the Gospers Mountain Fire. Our efforts ultimately stopped this fire when it was on our doorstep.

She launched the book with a cheer and lots of applause.

Our Brigade Captain, Brian Williams, spoke about Karen’s incredible service as our Fire Control Officer for the last 20 years. During the 79 days of Gospers Mountain Fire she built up her tiny team of half a dozen permanent staff to manage literally thousands of people. These included not only our volunteers, but another 6 RFS districts who reported in to her, air services, the army and the police as well as needing to manage her management, the press and the politicians.

Brian spoke about the success of our hazard reduction programs and the fact that the fire, once it crossed Bells Line of Road and went into country that had been recently burned, self-extinguished on a 41 degree day with a strong southerly blowing. The back burn that we put in went from Bells Line of Road down across the Burralow Valley and right down into the Grose River. That ultimately saved Kurrajong Heights and Bowen Mountain.

Kylee Williams presented Karen with a lovely bunch of flowers comprising reg kangaroo paws representing the fire and green foliage representing the recovery.

Susan Templeman then spoke in glowing terms about Good Fire Bad Fire and encouraged everyone present to purchase a copy from Julie Braithwaite, the author of the book.

The video of the launch is here.

All the brigade members then assembled for a group photo with Karen Hodges and Timothy Seary from the RFS and Susan Templeman, our Federal MP.

Further details of Good Fire Bad Fire and an order form can be found here:


The book will also be available for sale at:

  • The IGA X-Press at Kurrajong Heights
  • The Village Kitchen in Kurrajong
  • The Deli Nana in Kurmond and in the New Year from the Kurrjong store

Very many thanks to Stephen Fitzgerald for opening his lovely home to the community for what has become an annual event.

Enquiries to history@khrfs.org


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