Two brand new South West fire stations set to bolster emergency services this bushfire season have opened their doors to volunteers and residents. Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson joined local volunteers and residents in the South West on Thursday, officially opening the new Dardanup Central Bushfire Brigade Station and Waterloo Bushfire Brigade Station. The new Waterloo fire station is based at the former Waterloo Community Hall transformed with a newly erected extension to incorporate the fire brigade facilities and tanks. The additional resources are funded through a State Government investment of more than $840,000 between the two facilities. The construction of Dardanup Central station was further supported by a donation of $90,000 from the estate of former South-West Bushfire Brigade volunteer firefighter Alexander Poad. The official opening was attended by Minister Dawson, along with Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm and Collie-Preston MLA Jodie Hanns. Mr Dawson said regional and remote volunteers were the true heroes during difficult fire seasons in WA. “The Waterloo Bushfire station has been serving the community for more than 80 years . . . and volunteer brigades form the backbone of firefighting in rural and remote areas, you are often the first responders on scene,” he said. “One of my priorities as Minister is to get out around the State and see some of the great work our volunteers are doing. “The contribution you make is why the McGowan Government is very pleased to support volunteers through the Emergency Services Levy.” Mr Dawson said he was pleased to see the Waterloo Station erected after the brigade was originally turned away from setting up at the Community Hall. “The site for the Waterloo station has particular historical significance for locals, it was originally built in 1898 and has been vacant for some time, so it’s pleasing to find a new purpose for the area,” he said. DFES Commissioner Darren Klemm thanked the brigades as the South West continued to battle ongoing bushfires. “(Volunteers are) a cornerstone of the delivery of fire and emergency services in this great State, and I thank you all for the part you have played in delivering those services,” he said. The Waterloo station opening also celebrated one of its longest-standing volunteers, Kingsly Palmer, who started at the brigade on January 1, 1960. Mr Dawson and Mr Klemm personally thanked Mr Palmer for his dedication over the past 61 years and awarded him with a certificate for his service. Waterloo Bushfire Brigade currently has 53 active members, while Dardanup Central Bushfire Brigade has 40.