Lightning started a fire on Caves Road near Spencer early Thursday morning with the alert going out at 5:15.
A rapid crew response got the 1.4 with Andy, Douglas, Carlo and Mitch; followed by the 4.4 with Alan, Matty, Noel, Pete and Tony; and the Light Tanker with Duncan and Emma on the scene quickly. There they met FCO’s Hunty and Fish . The fire was soon extinguished. Blacking out took longer with fire smouldering in some of the older Marris along the side of the road.
The burnt area was adjacent to a blue gum plantation and it was fortunate the wind was from the south and the crews got to the fire so quickly. It was the first workout for the reinvigorated 4.4.
Later in the day a fire at Clairault Winery got the volunteers out again but the winery staff had extinguished the fire by the time the crews got to the fire shed.
The latest Yallingup Rural crew came home late Sunday night after a long day at the Northcliffe fire. Currently no crews are on call and it is anticipated the 4.4 will return soon for much needed maintenance.
The crew of Duncan, Mark S, Mark P, Mitch and Tony, along with Ian for the 12.2, set off from home around 4am and returned to Dunsborough around 10pm.
After the morning briefing, they spent the day in exactly the same area as the Wednesday night crew, attacking flare ups and blacking down. Two helicopters were called in to suppress a spotover in front of the truck. They also spent time draughting and supplying water to the Hithergreen and Sussex trucks which were unable to draft. Credit to the driver, Stando, for his skills in tricky terrain and his swimming skills.
Over the last week there have been six 4.4 crews sent to Northcliffe along with the 12.2 crews. In total it is estimated there have been 23 members of the brigade at the fire with four doing three shifts, including Steveo spending over a week looking after the 12.2.
Along with the Northcliffe action there was a local fire last week with lightning starting a fire in Yungarra Drive. Adam turned up quickly with the Light Tanker, along with Tony and the Dunsborough Light Tanker. By time they arrived, however, the neighbors had helped to put it out.
Along with use by our crew, the 4.4 has been used by Dunsborough and crews from Victoria, NSW. As of Sunday it has a cracked windscreen, a wonky electric winder, missing one hand winder, a malfunctioning foam system and one door handle is coming off.
Apart from the crews getting a break, it is hoped this will also be a good break for our hard working coordinator, Barb, and for all the spouses who have had to drive their partners to Busselton at very unsocial hours.
Crews are continuing to be sent to Northcliffe although the improved weather Thursday allowed the evening shifts to be dropped for at least the next few days.
Jason returned Friday morning after spending the night driving the 4.4 with a crew from Victoria. FCO David also returned Friday after working three days in IC.
Chris and auxiliary Shahan headed off to Northcliffe on their way to a wedding in Denmark, with Chris driving the 4.4 and Shahn the 12.2. Chris was joined by Andy (again, again, again), Emma and Adam.
Joe Mac will head down Saturday to work on the 12.2 and Annie resumes her role as a DFES Community Liaison Officer for the next few days working out of Pemberton or Northcliffe or Manjimup..
The next crew heads down 4AM Sunday with Mark squared (S&P), Mitch, Duncan and Tony S. All except Mark S are on their second or third shifts.
On the home front Barb made the front page of the local paper. See here. Not surprisingly she didn’t mention her own massive effort-a never ending shift: coordinating crews and part-time driver. And she’s still waiting for Steveo to return!
The latest Yals Rural crew returned Thursday morning, leaving the truck in the capable hands of a Dunsborough crew.. Thanks go to David for bringing the crews together. Also thanks to Dunsborough’s Mal Ballard for his driving, hose and winder-fixing skills, although we won’t hold him responsbile for the long term life of the winder.
So far there have been five crews sent from the brigade and we’re looking forward to the return of the 4.4 which needs some TLC.
The crews have mainly been used in blacking out, putting out fires in already burnt areas. Wednesaday night’s crew had to deal with a number of huge Karri trees burning through their core.
The fire has burnt over 80,000 hectares of bushland and has a perimeter of more than 240km. There are over 200 firefighters on the scene at any one time. It is anticipated there will be ongoing regular Yallingup crew shifts going to the fire.
The fire now stretches from the edge of Windy Harbour to east of the South West Highway.
Another crew headed to Northcliffe Wednesday, replacing Mitch, Titch, Richard and Mark P and Bob S. They had gone down early Monday morning and have done two shifts blacking out south of the Northcliffe townsite. The second crew of Douglas, Carlo, Emma, Kev and Andy worked overnight.
The new crew of Bruce, Duncan, Noel and Tony S is joined with a guest appearance of Mal Ballard from Dunsborough behind the wheel. It is anticipated they will be bringing the 4.4 home for repairs Thursday morning.
The 12.2 with Steveo and Allan headed off to Northcliffe early Monday morning to provide valuable water to the firefighting crews. With town water trucked in, the need for water supplies is urgent.
Meanwhile a crew left Tuesday morning and arrived in Northcliffe in time for breakfast. They were then positioned south of the town, which has been determined to be undefendable and is being evacuated. Tuesday’s crew consists of Mitch, Titch (called back to the flock) and Rich(ard). Along with Mark P and Bob S.
A third crew leaves by bus at 15:00 Tuesday with Douglas driving the 4.4 on arrival along with Andy (again!) Carlo, Kevin and Emma.
The 4.4 returned Monday morning from Northcliffe after spending Saturday firefighting in Waroona and driving down to Northcillfe Sunday morning. On arrival, after familiarizing themselves with the town they made themselves very popular with Pete cooking lunch and Andy serving the other brigades awaiting a briefing. The best egg sandwiches in Northcliffe, and probably Waroona, as well!
They spent the afternoon talking to owners and checking out properties in the path of the fire to determine whether they could be protected. The evening was spent setting up lay-flats around a house that was determined to be defendable. Fortunately the wind didn’t change and the fire passed a few kilometres away. From their vantage point the crew could witness its massive size, stretching all along the skyline. Although kilometres away the roar of the fire was significant and flames shot over 50 meters into the air. Pictures give no indication of the size and intensity of the fire. None of the crew had seen anything like it.