Coolgardie volunteers have battled fires for more than a century, but now the local brigade is facing a more insidious threat.
As in other Goldfields towns, low rates of volunteering have begun to threaten the viability of the firefighting service.
Coolgardie Fire and Rescue Service lost eight volunteers last month, about a third of its volunteer pool, bringing its total to 18 active volunteers and an extra five on probation.
While local volunteers can respond to a call in five minutes, the next closest firefighting service is the full-time brigade stationed in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
Coolgardie brigade captain Shane Munro, a volunteer fire fighter of 27 years, said there was a “desperate need” for more volunteers.He lamented an ageing population, the introduction of 12-hour shift work and increased rates of fly in, fly out.