ON THE eve of Christmas, the Valla Rural Fire Service (RFS) Brigade was thankfully at rest.
Like so many others in the Lower North coast Zone, they have been fighting fire for months in what may prove an unprecedented season.
The Kian Rd fire, which tore through South Arm, Taylors Arm, Congarinni and Talarm.
We all saw that scary RFS map of the worst case scenario razing everything from Stuarts Point through to Valla Beach.
And then there was the Carrai East fire - a monster which came down from Walcha, and like the Kian Rd fire, took so many homes.
Near 70 in our Nambucca Valley - and scores of outbuildings and vehicles.
And just the start of the sesaon.
The Andersons Creek fire started - by lightning - in sympathy, and bore down with fears that if it got into 'The Horsehoe' it would rip and thrash through the Kalang and into Valla.
Your local brigades, along with Fire and Rescue NSW, Forestry, National Parks, and crucially landholders, were the difference.
The community too has been massive.
Too many people to thank.
Just before Christmas Day Elissa and David Morris from Valla dropped off some gifts to the local brigade.
It was not asked for - the RFS feeds us well - yet, gratefully received.
There's been talk of volunteers being paid - but if you are, then you're hardly a volunteer.
I can't speak for all - but I know most just enjoy serving the community to help them when they are challenged by fire.
And people like Elissa and David are just an unexpected and welcomed surprise.