NO matter how scary it might be at times, or how many family celebrations are interrupted, there is something about being a volunteer firefighter that just gets in your blood.
Dave Peime is among thousands of volunteer firefighters scattered across the state who are facing massive, out-of-control fires to help protect their communities.
He has been a volunteer firefighter with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) for 25 years, just like his father before him who was with the service for 30 years.
But this bushfire season is different and he said firefighters are battling a ferocious beast like they have never experienced before.
"I've never seen anything like it, it's just so bloody dry that it's unreal," he said of the current fires burning.
"The rate of spread and how quick it's moving is just unreal. Usually fires don't travel this fast."
Since early December, Bathurst RFS Brigade Deputy Captain Peime has been fighting the Palmers Oaky blaze burning north-east of Bathurst.
He also gave up his own Christmas Day celebration to keep fighting the blaze.
So far the huge blaze has torn through more than 17,000 hectares and destroyed 11 structures, although at this stage the RFS has not confirmed if any were homes.
I thought that was going to be the day that it was all over.
Deputy Captain Peime said at times this blaze has been so ferocious that it's made the hairs on his arms stand up and left him with grave fears that he may not "bring his crew safely home".
Recently, while battling the Palmers Oaky fire in Wolgan Valley, he thought his final day had come.
"We thought the front would be on us in 15 minutes, but it was there within two or three minutes," he said.
"The fire front was just coming down the side of the truck and we had to make a run for it.
"I thought that was going to be the day that it was all over."
I've never seen anything like it, it's just so bloody dry that it's unreal.
This week he had another call so close that he feared for the lives of his crew and himself.
"Out at Glen Davis in the night, the bush exploded," Deputy Captain Peime said.
Suddenly, a "fixed-wing bomber" flew over and saved them all by dropping water onto the inferno.
Despite his utter exhaustion after battling the same fire for three weeks, with shifts lasting 12-16 hours each, Deputy Captain said he plans to keep up the fight.
"Someone's got to do it, and if we don't do it who's going to do it," he asked.
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