12/07/14 1840 “SMALL FIRE, END OF WELCHES ROAD…”
I missed this call, but at 2126, just as I was about to sit down with a Scotch, I did get this one:
“MEDIUM REQUIRD FOR 2ND ALARM – STAGE TIMBERVIEW DRIVE AND WATERFALL DRIVE…”
I met John H and Matt at the station. TM52 was out with Maria and Paris.
After JH had checked with Firecom that TM41 would be of some use, he with Matt in TM41 and me in my van drove to Timberview Drive. As I was following TM41 on Gallery Walk a small car pulled out in front of me, sending me across the road. I guess they had pulled over for TM41’s lights, and with no-one else around, hadn’t expected me to be following behind; nothing a change of underwear wouldn’t fix.
On the descent to Timberview Drive we could clearly see the fire to our right. At IC, Matt joined Paris and Maria in TM52, who had been at work since 1840. I moved to TM41 with John, and we were directed to Pinnacle Drive to join the sector Alpha team under Adam Cromack of Coomera. Here, the crews were burning along the track that leads down from the high tension line. We patrolled up to the ignition point, which was a burnt out 4WD under a tower, blacking out along the track, and then lighting up along a Whippersnipper line in very steep country behind a house and down to a creek line.
About 0230 the focus changed with all crews providing structural protection to a number of houses on Waterfall Drive. TM41 was assigned a site, but after assessing it (property unoccupied, with shed, tractors, vehicles, etc. and molasses grass close up to shed) we called in ‘unable to protect’ and were replaced by an urban unit. This freed us to patrol the fireground boundary. After crossing over with TM52 and taking on water, we began the patrol via Pinnacle Drive. Here we acted as relay for TM52, who were unable to be heard by IC. Then up the 4WD track to the IP, north-east under the high tension lines, then down a very steep bit of track back to Waterfall Drive. Called in code 4 about 0430.
John and Maria were to be seen taking money and directing traffic at the showgrounds a couple of hours later.
The following Tuesday I returned to inspect the incident area in daylight and walked the part of the track I’d driven/slid down – too steep and loose to walk without sliding. I guess the driving I did that night had probably doubled my 4WD experience. Behind the house on Pinnacle Drive, I walked down the Whippersnapper’ line where I inspected a green tree that was sending occasional bursts of smoke from a high branch. It seemed tall enough to reach into the unburnt country behind the house, should it fall that way, so I reported it to TM1 by SMS.