As flames tore through the Walyunga National Park near Bullsbrook last week, a small army of farmers, business owners, tradies, fly-in, fly-out staff and office workers stopped what they were doing and pulled on their yellow uniforms.
In what's become a familiar summer scenario, more than 100 of these volunteers joined career fire-fighters on the front line of the out-of-control bushfire which, thanks to the joint effort, was held back from homes.
Gidgegannup volunteer Wayne Gliddon, who also mans the Department of Environment and Conservation's fire tower in the park, sprung into action when he saw more than 10 fires had sparked up along the railway line.
"I've often sat here and thought 'what if a fire comes out of the (Avon) Valley towards me', and all of a sudden I had three of them coming at me, all at once," he said.
"Once I realised it was running vigorously up the hill, I was out of there."
Within an hour Mr Gliddon had joined the volunteer effort, battling strong winds and steep terrain to help save 30 homes.
After a hectic few days anxiety turned to relief and gratitude, evidenced by the dozen homemade "thank you" signs which hung from fences across Bullsbrook.
It's this, according to FIFO worker Wayne Birss from the East Swan brigade, that makes it all worthwhile.
"When it comes to saving properties like we did there in Bullsbrook and Chittering, it gives you a good sense of wellbeing and people are so damn thankful for it," he said. Like many of the "vollies", Bullsbrook was the third fire Mr Birss had attended in two weeks while home from his 28-day swing up north.
FIFO workers had become invaluable to volunteer brigades, according to East Gidgegannup captain Sean Corbin, because those who were home on breaks could provide a quick response to local fires.
The son of a former brigade captain, Mr Corbin has grown up with the local brigade.
"There's a real camaraderie there," he said.
"We've got people from all walks of life, from farmers to suit and tie workers from the city."
WA Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade Association committee member John Mangini said some volunteers who had worked through the night during the Bullsbrook blaze were out again this week fighting small blazes believed to have been started by arsonists.
"Once again, vollies have been out since midnight - it's extremely frustrating when they are fighting fires started by arsonists," he said.
Association president Dave Gossage said WA's 26,000 volunteer firefighters were extraordinary, and many juggled the commitment with jobs or businesses.
"They don't want a medal and they don't even ask for money, even though they are working in arduous and dangerous conditions," he said. "Our members volunteer out of a deep sense of community and pride."
West Gidgegannup recruit Fiona Crowe balances her volunteer duties with her role as head of St Catherine's College at UWA and hopes to encourage more women to become volunteer firefighters.
"It's such an active way to be involved in the community and you meet such a great range of people," she said.
"It's not just the big burly men. There are all sorts of people."
The volunteer effort - including from St Vincent de Paul Society and St John Ambulance - did not go unrecognised by the community, Bullsbrook Residents Association president Anne Sibbel said.
"We are so grateful to the vollies who gave their time to save our community," she said. "There is so much relief that no houses or livestock were lost. It's a massive commitment."
Geoff Liddle, from Bullsbrook volunteer brigade, said help from other brigades was vital in stopping last week's blaze from becoming more destructive.'Once I realised it was running vigorously up the hill, I was out of there.'" Volunteer *Wayne Gliddon *
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