AFTER nearly nine years as the RFS Lower North Coast Superintendent, Lachlann Ison has decided to not only step down, but retire, ending a 35-year career in the NSW public sector.
While he is yet to make any formal plans regarding his future endeavours, the long time resident of the Mid North Coast has more than a few possibilities up his sleeve.
"I just felt the time was right to take a step back and spend more time with my family and friends, I've had a good innings, but now it's time to bow out and hand the bat over to someone else," he said.
"I don't have any preconceived notions of what is next; I might take up bushwalking, or go to the beach more, at the moment, I'm just looking forward to a good long rest."
Supt Ison spent 20 years working with Forestry NSW; he then moved to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service where he spent six years, before taking on the role of RFS Lower North Coast Superintendent.
He has always been heavily involved in fighting bushfires, seeing active service all over the country from WA and Tasmania to the Black Saturday Bushfires, which saw large parts of Victoria destroyed.
Our local region experienced its own brush with devastating wildfires during the infamous Black Summer, which Supt Ison said were the worst he's ever seen.
"Locals can no doubt recall the Ravenswood Rd fire, and the fires that tore through Dondingalong; they were devastating at the time, but in the end, nothing could have prepared us all for the Black Summer Bushfires," he said.
"Friday, November 8, 2019, was easily the worst fire day this area has seen in my lifetime, some RFS crews had three solid months of fighting fires, and there were a few weeks where we were just hammered.
"All the RFS Brigades during that time performed the job with distinction in very trying circumstances, showing that they are skilled and capable firefighters and an invaluable organisation in the community."
Supt Ison helped steer the region through some bad times, and a few good ones, but he says his job was made a lot easier through the relationships he forged with other agencies.
"A big part of my role was working with local volunteers, coordinating efforts as fire control officer, and sometimes incident control officer," he said.
"I made sure to maintain the relationships and friendships I formed in Forestry and National Parks, and they all proved invaluable.
"A big part of working in the fire service is working with other agencies, police, ambulance, we rely on each other to better serve community."
Lachlann is driving off into the sunset, but plans to stay local, around the Port Macquarie-Hastings area, where he has lived since his family moved there in the 1970s.
"I think the Port Macquarie region will always be home, I grew up here, met my wife here, and I hope to live here for a long time yet," he said.
Lachlann Ison's last day of work was July 23. He leaves a legacy as a staunch leader, and big shoes to fill for the next person to take up the RFS Lower North Coast Superintendent position.
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