NOT long after Boort teenager Mitch Baker finished his VCE exams, he was on his way to New South Wales to help protect homes from bushfires.
The volunteer Boort Fire Brigade member said the last two weeks had been flat chat.
"I had just finished my exams and the opportunity (to go and help NSW) came out over the pager," he said. "Everyone seemed to think it was appropriate.
"We flew into Coffs Harbour and were put on a bus to Port Macquarie and then doing some back burning Rolland Plains.
"I just thought everyone (up there) was hurting. The community was hurting, the volunteer (firefighters) were stuffed.
"I'm not here for glory. Part of me likes helping people, I thought there was no better way to help than to go give them a chop out."
Mr Baker spent five days in New South Wales helping crews control fires.
During his time in NSW, Mr Baker help protect homes and compete backburning to control the fires.
"Pretty much most of Rolland Plains and its bushland was already burning or burnt out," he said. "We were doing asset protection involving backburning to prevent the firefront coming over.
"The front was a few kilomteres away and we were getting rid of fuel to protect houses."
Despite never being in such a serious fire before, Mr Baker was confident in the crews assembled.
"I have been trained pretty well and have a very good crew about me," he said. "The way we were going about it, I thought 'we've got this', it wasn't an issue.
"I felt really honoured to be a part of that and help out NSW volunteers who had been working for quite a long time.
Mr Baker, aged 18, has been a CFA member for two-and-a-half years. He is the first in his family to volunteer and he had always been interested in it.
"I knew a few people in the brigade and when I got in and started performing, I learned more about being there for community," he said.
"There have been a few hairy moment but mostly it's been okay.
"I guess it was the honour of being there in times of need. People turn to you for things and it's good to be able to comfort people in situations like this."
Next year, Mr Baker hopes to study cybersecurity at Deakin University in Geelong.
Like his firefighting duties, the 18-year-old intends to take the next level of study head on.
"It's an evolving field and I have an interest in computers, so I'm up for the challenge," he said. "I'm keen to get in and make a difference.
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