A FORMER Warrington Wolves forward who is helping to fight the Australian bushfires has spoken of the devastation caused by the five-month disaster.

Trent Waterhouse, who made 82 appearances for the Wire, returned to his homeland in 2014.

He joined the fire service in 2018 and is based at Pyrmont Fire Station in central Sydney.

Trent, aged 39, said: “I love the job, it is always something I wanted to do at the end of my rugby career.

“The camaraderie with the boys is great and just the same as that on the pitch with the rugby teams.

“The fire started up north at the beginning of summer and just keeps spreading.

Warrington Guardian: Trent Waterhouse offloads

Trent Waterhouse

“We have had no periods of significant rain for three years in New South Wales so the ground is really dry.

“It is finally forecast to rain on Thursday until Tuesday so that should help us massively.

“I’ve never seen anything like it in my life - thousands of homes have been destroyed and 27 people have died.”

Around 500 million animals are also thought to have died in the fires including koalas, kangaroos, cows and wallabies.

Trent said: “It is hard to fathom the amount of animals that have died.

“It has been devastating for koalas.

“The air has been really smokey throughout summer.”

Trent’s fire station has been sent out of the city to work on the bushfires and when the firefighters are not on shift, they have been volunteering to do overtime.

He added: “We have been able to help so many people which is great but there are some houses which just could not be saved.

“The extremely dry land has made it a perfect storm for the fires to spread.

“It can get pretty hairy when you are close to the fires, one driver died recently when his fire truck got caught in a mini tornado.

“In the day, you can see trees falling but once it gets dark you just have to listen out for those dangers.

“It has been scary, a lot of places look like a nuclear bomb has gone off , like something out of a movie.”

Trent praised the work of animal sanctuaries who are working relentlessly to treat badly injured wildlife.

He also paid tribute to Warrington Wolves for the release of a training shirt that will help raise money for the Australian Red Cross.

Warrington Guardian:

He added: “It has been great to see people from all over pull together to help us.

“I want to say thank you to Warrington Wolves for the shirt release, what they have done is much appreciated by all of us.”

Trent pulled on the primrose and blue for three seasons, after signing from Australian NRL club Penrith Panthers.

Between 2012 and 2014, the Kangaroos international back-row forward scored 19 tries.

He was in the Wire side that beat Leeds Rhinos in the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley in 2012, and featured in the club’s maiden Super League Grand Final appearance also against Leeds at Old Trafford in 2012.