Friday, 24 August 2012

Simpson Track update

Much thanks to all the crews working out on this fire Wednesday and Thursday in pretty ugly conditions at times and some steep goat-country. We now have it successfully contained and pretty much blacked out; well done all and thanks for the excellent turn-out.

We'll be sending a patrol out there either later today or tomorrow just to ensure all stays quiet but it is expected that last night's rain would've blacked out the last remaining pockets in the middle.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Ongoing Incident off Simpson Track

Bucketty Crews along with crews from Wollombi, Laguna and Greta are today continuing to work on controlling fire burning in bush between Fernances Crossing and Simpson Track.

HIGH Fire Danger for Thursday

We have been issued with a notice of HIGH fire danger today.

Friday, 17 August 2012

14th August - Murray's Run Fire #3

Another trip down to Murray's Run with Bucketty #9 and Bucketty #1 crews attending as well as units from Wollombi and Deputy Group 8. A week that really demonstrated the importance of property owners advising local fire authorities of their intentions to burn as well as staying with the fires at all times. Our Community Engagement crews will be getting round to all local properties over the next few days with a letterbox drop of salient information on our responsibiities under the Rural Fires Act.

Thanks to all for the turn out and to Wollombi 1A for coming almost all this way until stand-down.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

13th August - Murray's Run Fire #2

More smoke rolling off the Murray's Run ridgetop had Bucketty#1 and crew responding down that way again on Monday afternoon.

Thankfully the flame was not in proportion to the smoke and we arrived to find a few sprinkles of fire amidst a lot of charred patchwork paddocks from an agricultural burn.

However it was a good exercise in call-out and also a timely reminder that whatever the time of year, under the Rural Fires Act you need to either contact the Brigade or FireControl [1800 NSW RFS or 1800 679 737] as well as your neighbours and give 24 hours notice of intent to burn. With 1st September and Fire Season fast approaching for those of us in Cessnock LGA this is even more important.

Much thanks to Stan, Steve, PaulB and Mark for the rapid response.

6th August - Murray's Run Fire

Monday afternoon of the 6th saw the valley around Sternbeck Road hazy with smoke, increasing rapidly with the winds which had begun to pick up later in the day. A couple of phone calls from two Brigade members driving around in private vehicles trying to get an idea of its origins and by 1530 Bucketty#1 was on the road proceeding in the direction of the Letter A and Murray's Run Road to investigate.

En-Route we upgraded to RESPOND after we managed to get a clear look at the amount of smoke that was rolling up off the ridgeline East of Sternbeck Road. We arrived on scene down Murray's Run to a going fire running up a hill to the western edge of a private property, flame height approx. 0.5 - 1m, traveling fairly sedately yet getting quite excited in big clumps of blade grass as it meandered around the hillside.

We requested additional resources, deployed hoses for property protection around the house and waited for Group 8 to arrive so we could hand over incident control before heading off on foot to start bringing things under control.

In the meantime, SnrDC Finnie and JohnM were responding in Bucketty#9 and checking property along the way at the top of Murray's Run to ensure there was no current threat, as from the bottom of the fire we were unable to ascertain the exact spread of the fire above us.

With less than an hour of light left in the day we formed up Bucketty #1 Foxtrot crew and 4 of us headed straight up the centre of the hill on foot with rake-hoes and set about working down the SE flank [left side of the map above] from the ridge, which posed greater threat to properties beyond. The new headtorches proved their worth that evening and we steadily worked our way down blacking out as we went. Due to dangerous trees and the terrain becoming more hazardous as we worked our way around the base and back up, we decided we'd have to let the SW [right side of the picture] continue it's way into the gully in the hope it would go out overnight and send a foot crew back to patrol first thing in the morning.

We were back at the trucks just after sunset following some excellent team work at the coal-face. Much thanks to all who turned out that day; Cooky, SteveJ, JohnM, SnrDC Finnie, Jimmy from Mangrove Brigade [who lives down the road and why he's not in Bucketty Brigade I don't know! But much thanks for showing up :) ],Group 8 Captain and Support Captain and Charles and the guys from Wollombi in 1Bravo who responded with assistance.

The following day two of us headed off on a perimeter foot patrol to ensure all was blacked out and aside from a nice hot bed of coals and a wisp of active flame on the SW ridgetop, all was good. It was a funny sight though, Captain Jerry and SteveJ headed off first thing in the morning in full PPE crunching through thick frost! Still, a lovely walk in the crispy morning air made even better by hot coffee at the top :)

All good fun, hard work and all home safe - just the way we like it :)

Monday, 13 August 2012

Simpson Track HR

It's been a busy couple of weeks for fires, both wild and well-behaved ones, and whilst the wonders of mobile technology mean it is feasible to blog from the bush [thank you Optus tower!], sometimes the busyness gets in the way and before we know it there's a couple of HRs and a couple of wildfires need catching up on!

So first off, here's a few pics from the last hazard reduction burn recently completed out on the Simpson Track. Not only thanks go to Bucketty crews and our local group 8 pals from Wollombi, but big thanks also out to our new friends from Neath who brought their Cat 1 and Cat 7 down to join us as well as Group 6 Captain Pete and FMO Dave for supervising the burn.