A group of female, indigenous firefighters are working all day and all night to combat blazes in eastern Victoria.
It was 20 years ago when Charmaine Sellings, now 52, set up the Lakes Tyers Aboriginal Trust Country Fire Authority.
Ms. Sellings and her friends jumped into action after a house in their area burned down as the nearest fire truck took more than thirty minutes to reach the destination.
Residents call them the Banana Women due to their bright yellow attire and also their name stuck.
Ms. Sellings, now a grandmother, is still fighting blazes with her team.
The fully-trained members have fought the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 and also flames in the town of Omeo and in Wilsons Promontory National Park.
Aside from driving fire trucks, they also use power tools to get rid of bush tracks.
Ms. Sellings told Women’s Weekly that her team is widely appreciated by locals. “There was a sense of helplessness before we came along but we feel empowered that we can look after ourselves and our people whatever the situation.”
She added: “The community is proud of us and they value us.”
The grandmother-of-three also said that men have always been welcome to join the team. “Every now and then a fella comes along but they don’t seem to last too long. I don’t think they like taking orders from me,” she joked.
Trevor Owen, the assistant chief fire officer for the south east region, told ABC: “The CFA is made up of some 1,220 brigades.
“It’s great to have local community interest in their local brigade because they know their own local community and the members within that.
“Lake Tyers Trust is a really encouraging and successful brigade for us.”
One internet user commented: “Brilliant women. Using their knowledge & skills to protect their community & country & wildlife.”
Another wrote: “Good work ladies.”
A third said: “You guys are amazing!”
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