Friends honor NSW park ranger

Aaron Harber

Aaron Harber, holding a muttonbird in the Nimboi-Binderay National Park. The Australian

The park ranger who was killed in a helicopter crash on Wednesday in New South Wales has been identified as Aaron Harber. The helicopter crashed in heavy fog as it was on its way to pick up other members of a rural firefighting team near Dorrigo in Australia. The pilot was seriously injured in the crash and is in critical condition with head and chest injuries.

From The Australian:

Yesterday Harber’s friends paid tribute to a family man who worked tirelessly for the community.

“He was a big-hearted, down to earth, really nice guy who was generous with his time. The whole town is in a state of shock,” family friend Ross Pollard said.

With the National Parks and Wildlife Service since 1997, Harber moved up to Dorrigo 13 years ago with his family from Sutherland Shire in southern Sydney where he grew up.

His wife Jane Louise Geyle Harber said in a statement released yesterday afternoon, “It is with great sadness that we mourn the tragic loss of Aaron, proud husband, father and family member in a tragic helicopter crash yesterday at Dorrigo.

“While we are devastated by our loss, we take pride in the knowledge that Aaron has left a lasting legacy as a fine family man and as an active member of the Dorrigo community.

“His sacrifice will not be forgotten and he will be forever missed.”

“His family will be cared for,” Barnes said.

“We’re working with the family and we’re helping out in every way possible. We will be supporting them through this.”

“The family will be entitled to a lump sum payment from the National Parks and is also entitled to weekly payments to dependent children,” a National Parks spokesperson said.

Nearly 100 bushfires are still raging in NSW with 29 fires rated “uncontainable”.

Fires in Bundarra, Barraba and near Gwydir remain out of control, burning in and around rural properties.

“We have got a lot of fire activity from north of Tamworth to Armidale and that’s mostly a result of some dry lightning that has went through the area over the last few days,” RFS spokesman Ben Shepard said.

A statement released by NSW Health confirmed that 61 year old Bernie Schulte is in a critical but stable condition and 20 year old Cameron is in stable condition after suffering burns while defending their property in the town of Vittoria, 25km west of Bathurst.

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About Bill Gabbert

Wildland fire has been a major part of Bill Gabbert’s life for several decades. After growing up in the south, he migrated to southern California where he lived for 20 years, working as a wildland firefighter. Later he took his affinity for firefighting to Indiana and eventually the Black Hills of South Dakota where he was the Fire Management Officer for a group of seven national parks. Today he is the creator and owner of and Sagacity Wildfire Services and serves as an expert witness in wildland fire. If you are interested in wildland fire, welcome… grab a cup of coffee and put your feet up. Google+