MANDURAH resident Michael Lauder was deeply honoured to receive an Australian Government bravery citation last week for his role in saving campers trapped in the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria.
Mr Lauder and his crew were awarded a group citation for saving 19 people, including children, at the Murrindindi Scenic Reserve campsite on February 7, 2009.
Described by Mr Lauder as a “disastrous day,” the Department of Sustainability and Environment crews became aware that campers were in trouble after becoming surrounded by two fire fronts.
Mr Lauder, the senior ranger, and his crew moved the campers in vehicle convoy to the Murrindindi River. Pumping water from the river, the group hosed the vehicles and nearby vegetation and attempted to clear surrounding trees with chainsaws.
After nearly two hours the conditions improved and crews were able to help the group to safety.
Mr Lauder said he was glad his crew had been recognised.
“A couple of those guys were going to die, but the training just takes over,” he said.
After the bushfires, Mr Lauder became the project manager in rebuilding what had been lost.