DECADES of dedication - including more than 60 years from Raglan Brigade's Ernst Holland - were recognised at a NSW Rural Fire Service ceremony on the weekend.
The Chifley Zone presentation featured medals handed to volunteers with the Chifley/Lithgow Team with 10 to 60 years of service.
A special guest at the function, which was held at the Chifley Fire Control Centre in Kelso, was NSW RFS assistant commissioner Steve Yorke, who was representing commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons.
Mr Holland from Raglan Brigade, who helps load aircraft as part of the air base operator crew and remains an active member, received a long service medal fifth clasp for 63 years of service.
"Ernie joined the Brundah Brigade in 1956 and when he moved to the Jenolan Caves area with his family in 1970, he assisted in establishing the Jenolan Caves Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade in January 1979," Mr Yorke said.
"Upon retiring in 1998, Ernie moved to Bathurst and joined the Raglan Brigade, where he took on the role of captain from 2002 to 2005 and was also the brigade's permit officer from 2005 to 2017."
Mr Yorke also recognised Charles Lamburn, who earned the long service medal fifth clasp for 65 years with the RFS.
"Charles joined the Bald Ridges Brigade in 1954 and was subsequently the brigade's longest serving secretary and treasurer, commencing in 1965 and finishing in 2002," he said.
"When the Bald Ridges Brigade merged with Burraga Brigade in 2004, he again took on the role of secretary and treasurer for another 12 years and he remains as the brigade's treasurer today.
"Charles has seen many changes over the years and has been very supportive to new members who joined the brigade.
"He continues to be a dedicated and supportive member of the Rural Fire Service and the Burraga community and I congratulate him for his 65 years of service."
IN OTHER NEWS AROUND BATHURST:
Chifley/Lithgow Team operational officer Brett Taylor said volunteers don't do their work for recognition, but the function was a good chance to honour them for their service.
"This gives back to them for their hard work and commitment to protect the community," he said.
He said not all RFS members are on the land.
"There are a lot of people who live within Bathurst itself," he said. "They enjoy doing something for the community."
In terms of the fire season approaching, Mr Taylor said it was looking challenging.
"When we had snow in Bathurst [two weeks ago], we had three major fires in the north," he said.
"Over the weekend, we had a number of people who were doing the right thing, having properly controlled burns, but due to the wind, the fires got away from them.
"It's very dry. What little moisture we are getting, it's disappearing very quickly."
If the dry conditions continue, grass fires will be unlikely, he said, but if a fire gets into the bush, it could be ferocious.