It’s feared the closing of several fire stations in the Lower Hunter will put the public’s safety at risk this bush fire season.

Stations in Abermain, Bellbird, Kearsley and Weston are taken offline for between one and eighteen hours at a time when the minimum of four firefighters cannot be raised.

The Fire Brigade Employees Union believes State Government budget cuts and under staffing are largely to blame for the routine shutdowns.

Newcastle sub-branch secretary, Luke Russell, says fire fighters and members of the community will continue to suffer until current management methods are revised.

“A whole revamp of the retain system needs to happen to guarantee that availability is there for the community and for fellow firefighters to maintain the stations and keep them online,” he says.