THERE were cheers at Tamworth airport as a Royal Australian Air Force troop-carrier took off with 20 New England firefighters bound for Cooma to assist with horrendous fires on the South Coast.
Fire and Rescue officers from Tamworth, Inverell, Gunnedah, and in-between joined the fight on Sunday to relieve fellow New England firies who've been on the scene for a week.
Some firefighters boarded the C-27J Spartan as their partners and wives waved from the beside the tarmac.
Loved ones who spoke to Australian Community Media were proud to see their partners jet-off to help others in need, as they have in the past.
But there were more nerves this time around with the unprecedented scale and ferocity of this disaster.
The region's Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent, Tom Cooper, echoed the sentiment.
"Sending people off into a disaster zone is done with a bit of trepidation, but I am quite confident in these firefighters and the leaders we have selected to go on this deployment," he said.
Superintendent Cooper said the crews could be sent to help anywhere on the South Coast and highland fireground with work like hazard reduction and property protection.
"They were looking at setting up water supplies and doing inspections of critical infrastructure that could come under threat today," he said.
It was believed to be the first time the air force has carried firefighters from Tamworth for a domestic incident.
"It's good to know that in times of need everyone from this community can chip in and help where it is needed," Superintendent Cooper said.
"It is the spirit of the bush."
He has been fighting fires since 1987 and he said these circumstances were on a different level to anything he had experienced.
"I think the volume of fires we are dealing with at the same time is a big issue," he said.
"Once all of this is finished, I'm sure there is going to be an inquiry.
"There will be plenty to come out of this."