RFS is now the world's largest volunteer firefighting organisation. The geographic area of New South Wales (NSW) is 800,630 square kilometres, which is approximately 10.4 percent of the Australian land mass. The RFS has jurisdiction over 99 percent of the State land area now, but it had humble beginnings. During the 19th century, coordinated firefighting was almost non-existent, with many landowners forced to defend their own properties. By the beginning of the 20th century, in response to particularly serious fires, the NSW State Government formalised control of fire prevention which led to the formation of the first formal brigade at Berrigan in the State's south. According to the Berrigan Advocate newspaper, the brigade was formerly recorded in November 1900 at a meeting at the Royal Hotel on the Murray River. It is the first official record of a formal bush fire brigade in NSW.
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- NSW Rural Fire Service: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au
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