Two Fires in Two Days End Summer “Holiday”

Two grass fires on Sunday and Monday put an end to a new year without fires for Yallingup Rural.  Both fires were out by the time the trucks arrived but they were a good reminder how lucky the district has  been.

Sunday, around 13:15 a fire was reported opposite and up the road from Gunyulgup Gallery.  Quick work by neighbors with portable pumps put out the fire and the 1.4 was called out to assist in blacking out the area.  The fire appeared to have originated around the base of a power pole.

Monday’s fire, around 10:00, was at a farm near the southern end of North Yelverton road. Trucks from Metricup, Wilyabrup  and Kaloorup attended and by the time our 4.4 arrived the fire was out. There were also handful of workers on site installing fencing who assisted in putting out the fire. Again, the brigade assisted in blacking out.

Quiet Holiday Season for Brigade

Unlike previous Christmas/New Years holidays there were no fires in the district this year.  There was only one call out on Dec 30 and the light tanker got stood down half way to “the fire” at Brookland Valley. It turned out to be the notorious sea mist.

Brigade Captain Matty Muir said the double roster system worked well and thanked those members who signed up and perhaps had a more sober holiday.  He especially thanked Barb for her usual great work, handling the phone over the whole period.

On the evening of Dec 28, 2012, the brigade responded to two fires, including the Margaret River Dairy Company fire outside Cowarumup. On New Year’s eve 2010 there was a fire at Indijup and in the early 2000’s there were fires on Christmas day in two consecutive years at the same location!

Training recommences this Tuesday, Jan 7.

Going with the Flo

Christening Flo, the tankerThe new  12.2, 12,000 litre bulk water tanker, was christened Flo, Monday, at the brigade’s Thornton Road shed.  Stevo gave a detailed rundown of the truck’s features to most of the brigade’s members.

As Yards describes it, it is an Isuzu: 2 seater; similar to the 4.4 but longer, heavier, dual rear axles, 6 speed automatic, 7.7 litre turbo charged diesel.

The PTO pump is rated at 1800 litres p.m. and the auxiliary portable pump is a Honda – 1100 litres p.m., so filling appliances is quite quick. The vehicle is for use on the blacktop, however it does have an inter-differential lock, and cross-axle diff locks at the rear, so it may be able to get itself out of trouble if some of the wheels are on the bitumen.

There is a locker on the driver’s side containing hoses, tools, branch etc, and there is a hydraulic side lifter platform on the near side to allow the collar tank and the auxiliary pump to be lowered to ground level and re-stowed. The work platform is at the rear with storage or things like fuel, rake hoes, fire extinguishers, suction hoses, road cones etc.

The collar tank can be deployed for ground support or for helicopter re-filling. It is the red “swimming pool” in the photos. The procedure would be for the collar tank to provide a supply of water for other appliances, while the 12.2 runs shuttles to keep it filled. Water is supplied to appliances (excepting possibly helicopters) by the portable pump. Alternatively, or in conjunction, appliances could be filled directly from the 12.2

There is a (small) hatch on the tank top for overhead filling. There is a Tank to Pump valve, but no Pump to Tank as on the 4.4, so if drafting is required, the portable pump needs to be used. A 25mm delivery is on the near side for a hose for verge mopping up, but there is no Monitor.

It is a two person truck and 12 people have been trained from different Busselton brigades. It will live at Thornton Road, next to the Light Tanker.

There is some debate whether Flo refers to Flo, the Hambug Damselfish in Finding Nemo, or Flo, the 1950’s Motorama V8 showcar in Disney’s Cars, or indie band Florence and the Machine. It has been suggested its theme song should be Florence and the Machine’s What the Water Gave Me.

The 12.2
Flo, the 12.2 water tanker
Filled collar
The portable water collar
Filling the water collar
Filling the water collar
Flo in the shed
Flo, sharing the shed with the Light Tanker

Brigade’s Friday Night Double Header

Five minutes to midnight, Friday, December 28 the brigade was called out to a fire at Roy Road, north of Cowaramup.  The 4.4 and 1.4 responded and found over a kilometre of road in flames resulting from a tree coming down on a power line.  The 4.4 attacked the fires in the tree tops with its cannon while the 1.4 focused on fires in the undergrowth. Later the 4.4 drafted water to other trucks from a local farm dam.

MR Dairy Fire
MR Dairy Fire

After about three hours the 4.4 was called off to attend a fire at the Margaret River Dairy Company factory on Bussell Highway, about 10 k away. Initially the crew supplied water from a tank behind the factory to SES firefighters attacking the fire. Later the 4.4 was replaced by the Dunsborough 3.4 and then backed up the Yallingup Coastal crew as they got their BA baptism of fire.  The crew was stood down at 6:30 am.  Meanwhile the 1.4 had been stood down at 5:30.

The arson squad was subsequently called in to investigate the fire and damages were estimated at $5 million but the fire was contained to the main building.

From midnight until 5 am the brigade for the first time made good use of the Go Natural snackbars, donated in December. The shire came through with a good breakfast at sunrise.

Fast Response Saves National Park and Houses

The fast response by Rural and the other local brigades and DEC Sunday stopped a fire on Wardanup Hill from escaping into the national park and also destroying houses on private property surrounded by the park.

The SMS went out at 10:49 and by 11:05 tankers were attacking the fire. They quickly set up a defensive line along a fire break and stopped the fire there. By 11:30 they were joined by a helitac which carried out numerous attacks on the eastern flank. The fire was under control by around 1:00 although a wind change caused a further brief flare up.

The 4.4 with Tich driving and Stevo, Annie, Doug, Duncan and Mark F was the first Rural tanker to arrive, quickly followed by the light tanker with Joe and Bruce. The 1.4 was later sent with Andy, David W, Dave T and Tony C. Blaze gave a helping hand to the Dunsborough crew.

David H returned in the evening to monitor and Joe and Bruce returned with the 1.4 Monday morning to mop up.

It was thought the fire might have been started by a cigarette or the previous night’s bbq.

More pictures available here.