The Ranfurly urban volunteer fire brigade has amalgamated with the Maniototo component of the Blackstone rural brigade, bringing 52 volunteer firefighters into one team.

The merge was made official at a signing at Ranfurly Station on Monday 25 January.

Controller of the Maniototo component of the Blackstone rural brigade Will Dowling, Chief Fire Officer James Hazlett, Area Manager Keith McIntosh and then Principal Rural Fire Officer Graeme Still worked to bring the amalgamation together.

CFO James Hazlett is tasked with leading this brigade, and is looking forward to a bigger stronger brigade serving their community.

β€œThe amalgamation will enable a much broader set of skills and resources to support our local communities and visitors to the area,” says James.

In the small but widespread rural community, the amalgamation of the brigades will be hugely beneficial for those that live in the Maniototo Basin, with a wider skills base under the one brigade.

Maniototo, is an elevated inland area in Otago, that has several DOC reserves, the Central Otago Rail Trail and natural sites that are visited by many. There are two state highways running through the area, and with steady rural growth, the population is building.

Ranfurly Brigade averages 40 – 70 calls each year and is backed up by the neighbouring Naseby Brigade which yearly, averages 20 – 30 calls. The area is also experiencing a growth in an aging population with many retirees moving for the slower pace of life which the Maniototo brings.

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