Saturday Night-Business as Usual

The brigade was back in business Saturday night, responding to a fire at the end of Lagoon Drive. Many members responded to the 9pm callout for all trucks.

Fortunately there was no wind and the residents had the fire under control by the time the brigade arrived. Duncan and Emma arrived with the Light Tanker to black out while the other trucks were stood down.  Annie and Mark P,  Bevan, Douglas, Fish, Kevin, Joe and Tony were also on the scene.  Alan, Andy, Bob S, David and Mike B were on the stood down trucks.   And Barb and John coordinated.  By 10pm the brigade was on its way home with another reminder that although the fire season may be over, fires aren’t.

Business as usual for Bush Fire Brigades

New DFES Structure (click to enlarge)

DFES Commissioner Darren Klemm said Saturday in explaining the role of the new Rural Fire Division, it will be business as usual in regard to fire fighting operations and training.  Bush Fire Brigades “will do as they do now on an operational basis” he told volunteers and DFES personnel Saturday morning in Busselton.

Minister for Emergency Services, Fran Logan

Minister for Emergency Services, Fran Logan, told the meeting DFES has been restructured to allow it to move from a “response agency” to a “prepare and planning agency” for any emergency.  The six divisions have been reduced to four with Rural Fire being one of the new divisions. The others are Operations, Corporate Services and Strategy and Emergency Management. Operations will be responsible for fire management in the same manner as today. Bush Fire Brigades will continue to be the responsibility of local government and this is not going to change under the revised legislation that will replace the Bush Fires Act, the minister confirmed to a question from David Hunt.

The Rural Fire Division will include the Bushfire Centre of Excellence which will “ensure WA has the best access to bushfire knowledge, training, technical expertise, science and research.” This will be run by current Lower South West Commissioner, John Tillman. There have been discussions with the Shire of Mundaring about locating the centre there but no final decisions have been made. The BCE will be involved in “high level” training, but regular training will continue as at present, the commissioner said.

The Office of Bushfire Risk Management (OBRM) will move from being a stand alone unit to being part of the Rural Fire Division. The division’s Bushfire Risk Management Planning group will be responsible for the Bushfire Risk Management Program which will manage the $35 million allocated to address bushfire risks and mitigation. The division will employ Volunteer Support Officers to “reduce the administrative duties for brigades” and Volunteer Liaison Officers to “facilitate communication between volunteers, DFES and the Government”.

The division’s executive director, Murray Carter, was previously head of OBRM after a long career with the Forest Department and Parks and Wildlife/CALM.

The $80 million initiative will be primarily funded by a 10.8% increase ($28) in the ESL Category 1 (urban) rates. ESL rates in the regions will rise from between $8-$17.

Brigade handles busiest day of the season

Ironically, the start of cool, damp weather brought the busiest day of the season for the brigade Saturday.

A nine o’clock callout had members turning up at a fire off Commanage Rd.  However, a quick response by Coastal brought the fire under control before our trucks arrived.

At 7:30 in the evening the brigade was called to a shed fire on Abbey Farm Road. Matty and Fish were first on the scene and Duncan, in the Light Tanker, was the first truck to turn up.  He was quickly followed by Coastal’s 2.4 and the brigade’s 4.4 and 1.4 . Alan was driving the 4.4 with Andy and Mike B, while David was driving the 1.4 with Bruce. Mike G joined Duncan in the LT.

The fire, thought to be caused by a faulty generator, had destroyed the roof and solar panels by the time the brigade arrived. With little wind, it was quickly contained and extinguished.  However burning fuel and exploding fuel tanks made the incident especially hazardous.

Fish and Matty returned the next day with the 4.4 to ensure there was no further risk.

The day was a good reminder that even though summer is over the risk of fires isn’t.

The Day After

FCOs do the overnight shift

CavesFire Control Officers Chris and Fish put their hands up for the overnight shift at the Augusta (West Bay) fire Tuesday night.

The 4.4 crew headed home at 5:30 pm as the FCOs on the Light Tanker arrived for their briefing. Alan, Andy, Noel, Pete and Tony spent the day blacking out and extinguishing burning stags along with provding some asset protection in the Caves Road/Bussel Highway area. According to DFES 111 firefighters attended the blaze Tuesday. By the end of the day the fire was contained and under control and the alert level had been downgraded.

Noel and Pete blacking out


Second shift heads south

The brigade’s second shift left Carbunup by bus for the Augusta fire at 6am Tuesday to replace the overnight 4.4 crew.  Alan is driving with Andy crew leader and Noel, Pete and Tony as crew. David also went to Augusta and drove the LT back.

The overnight crew worked on protecting property on the edge of Augusta and blacking out. They headed back to Yallingup around 8:30 after putting in over 15 hours on the road.

Brigade Crews off to Augusta fire

The brigade’s 4.4 and Light Tanker were dispatched to the Augusta fire late Monday afternoon.  The 4.4 with Steveo driving and Mitch in command had Bevan, Mike B,  and Todd as crew.  Emma and Leisha were handling the LT.

The fire started near Bussell Highway and Westbay Retreat Caravan Park in Augusta and was reported around 1:15pm. DFES is managing the fire.