Tuesday, 14 August 2012

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 :)