The brigade was called out to two fires at midnight Wednesday evening.
The 4.4, with Alan, Andy, Bevan and Steveo met FCO Fish at the larger fire on Sainsbury Loop and extinguished it before moving on to a smaller one nearby. Although they were only grass tree fires, the whole operation took three hours with crew members returning home around 3:30.
October, traditionally the brigade’s busiest month, started on cue with a fire Monday morning.
An escaped ember from a small burning pile of cleared fallen branches started a fire in a large, dead tree. Fortunately a neighbour with a mobile water tank and the owner’s garden hose were able to keep the fire under control until the brigade’s 4.4 arrived.
Andy, Alan, Bevan, Mick and Tony spent about half an hour putting out the fire, high in the tree. Fish was incident controller.
Saturday night (after the footy!) the brigade was called out to a fire but John, Mike, Pete, Todd and Tony were stood down when it turned out to be a burning pile of cleared brush. FCOs Fish and Matt were on the scene for that one.
The Brigade’s 4.4 tanker was in action Thursday assisting Wilyabrup in putting out a burn that threatened escaping into the coastal bush.
Steveo, Emma and Tony joined the Wilyabrup captain and the Busselton 12.2 water tanker in dousing the fire. The 12.2 fed the 4.4 while Emma, on the cannon, and Tony and Steveo on the back hoses extinguished the fire in less than an hour. They were also treated to some spectacular views down the coast.
The brigade welcomed a new addition to its fleet, a 3.4U tanker, this week. It replaces the old 1.4 .
The 3.4U (U for Urban) carries 3,600 litres of water of which 600 are reserved for the deluge safety system. This compares to the 1,000 litres in the old truck, which did not have a deluge system. It seats 6, unlike the old truck’s 5. It has three delivery outputs along with two reel hoses and two monitors with statics.
On the input side it has two collectors along with one direct tank fill collector and one 100mm suction input for drafting. The pump can output at 1,850 litres per minute at 700kPa (or 7 bar for the bike riders.) It can operate in stationary or pump and roll mode with the pump coupled to an independent engine.
The truck has similar safety features as the current 4.4, with an automatic vehicle locator, an external deluge system, radiant heat shields and in cab air units. An additional new welcome feature is a 32 litre fridge, along with two ladders.
“This new truck underscores the confidence the City of Busselton and DFES have in our brigade,” Captain Matt Muir said, on receiving the truck on behalf of the brigade. “The extra 2,000 litres of water along with the space for an extra person will make a significant improvement in our effectiveness,” he said. Matt would like to thank Blake Moore at the City of Busselton for doing the feasibility work to get the Brigade the bigger crew / water capacity appliance. It is a great result for the Brigade and the Yallingup Community.”
The old 1.4 originally was with the Yallingup Siding Brigade prior to the merger with Rural. It was over 20 years old and according the last captain of the Siding Brigade, Mark Standish, it was the first of its kind in the state. For the first six months of its life it was used for demonstration purposes. The 1.4’s last operational role was in late May when it and the 4.4 were in Jarrahwood after the town was evacuated; doing clear up work along the Vasse Hwy so that the road could be reopened.
The brigade was called to a fire at 6:15 Thursday morning with the 4.4 responding.
A fire had been spotted by a member of the neighbouring Willyabrup brigade while driving to work along Abbeys Farm Road at Brash Road. He quickly got their Light Tanker into operation. By the time Rural arrived the fire was pretty much out. But given the forecast of strong winds, another two hours and two tank loads of water were spent blacking out the fire. The crew of Bevan, Mitch, Pete, Ross and Tony were rewarded with breakfast sarnies delivered by the CoB CESM. And were much appreciated.
With fires in the nearby Yelverton National Forest and Jindong the same morning, this fire was described as suspicious with police in attendance. Fortunately there was no wind so only a few hundred metres along the side of the road burned.
Brigade FCO / Captain Matt Muir stated that although the prohibited season lifted on the 14th March, this was a strong reminder that it is still a dangerous time for fires and therefore no permits will be issued in the Yallingup area until deemed safe by the FCOs. We are still looking for a significant fall of rain in the area until consideration will be made. Matt thanked all the Yallingup community for their vigilance and fire safety over summer and to keep up the good work over the next month especially coming into the Easter Holiday period at the end of April.
Rural’s Ross Miller was part of the crew from the Lower South West region sent to help at the Esperance fires last holiday weekend.
He was picked up by Rural alumni and now Coastal’s Tich last Friday morning and they flew out as part of a crew of 20 from Busselton airport on a Dash 8 charter flight.
The Lower SW team, with volunteers from Ambergate, Dunsborough, Darradup, Hithergreen, Kangaroo Gully, Metricup, Northcliffe, Wallcliffe, Wilyabrup, Coastal & Rural, was assigned to two LTs, the Busselton 12.2, and a mixture of 3.4s & 4.4s, with Ross on the Cowaramup 3.4U (the only Red Truck on the fire ground). After getting new batteries the truck headed out east to the Exchange Road fire ground near Boyatup, effectively on the coast, approximately 90km from Esperance, and adjacent to Cape Arid National Park. This fire was only one of a number in the Esperance region.
The heavy trucks including the Cowaramup 3.4U, spent Friday afternoon and evening on the north eastern flank of the scrub fire patrolling in a harvested canola field. Saturday morning the Cowaramup 3.4U was assigned patrolling duties in the same region while others, including the LTs, carried out back burning on the south east flank of the fire .
The fire entered a blue gum plantation on the north east side of the scrub fire. In the afternoon the Cowaramup 3.4 was patrolling the eastern flank of the Blackboy Creek finger as the Helitorch was used to back burn this pocket of scrub. After it had finished Ross was part of a group assigned to back burn sections of the eastern flank of Blackboy Creek, towards the area burnt out by the Helitorch.
The truck was in for repairs most of Sunday and the crew didn’t get back on the fire ground until 5pm. It was assigned to patrol the western flank of the Exchange Road Fire. This included providing support to a grader and loader working along the western flank sand track.
Monday morning all the sector trucks were assigned to the western flank and drove out along Exchange Road towards the coast just north of the sand dunes. This involved having to let tyres down to 40psi to drive in the sand. Mid-afternoon a back burn of the unburnt south west was carried out. This was completed then blacked out before all crews left the fire ground for a final night in Esperance.
The Lower SW team worked with the local fire fighters includeing the farm and plantation owners surrounding the fire ground. Their knowledge of the fire conditions, terrain and weather patterns was invaluable.
Crew accommodation in Esperance was in motels on Friday and Monday nights, and in eight person army tents on fold-up camp beds and sleeping bags inside the Esperance Sport Centre on Saturday and Sunday nights. Breakfasts and two evening meals were provided at the adjacent Esperance Bowling Club. Friday and Sunday evening meals were provided at the fire ground I.C.
Tuesday morning the Lower SW task force was demobilised and all trucks set off in convoy for Kojonup. After lunch there all the trucks headed off to their various bases. Ross returned home around 5:30pm after being on the road for five days.