Beacon Rd 2 and 3
Wednesday 29 August dawned fine and clear for the planned burn along the north-western escarpment of the mountain, the first since 2004. By briefing time at 1000 the fire danger rating was calculated as being in the moderate range, with a light northerly wind forecast to increase during the day. John H, Chris, Caieyarn, Barry, Robbo, Greg and Paris in TM 51 and 52 and Roger in TM81, joined with teams from Tamborine, Canungra and Cedar Creek brigades to light-up in the northern sector, while the DERM or Parks teams took on the western side of the plateau. John Kennedy from Parks was the Incident Controller, assisted by Wil Buch and two more staff members.
The initial burn of Molassas grass was fast and furious, with each truck crew leap-frogging the next as they completed and secured a section of burn. We slowed down somewhat as we negotiated a narrow area between the cliff and residences, and were delayed by a 200 cubic meter pile of rubbish within the park boundary, which had to be reduced to ash to ensure the safety of the buildings, and by rubbish stashed right beside buildings!
By this time to northerly wind had risen to about 15 kts, blowing intense smoke over the crews, making conditions particularly hot and unpleasant. Clear of habitation the burn was taken quickly down to a deep creek separating the Convention Centre from Sierra Drive homes, where we decided to halt the burn for the night.
Next morning, an earlier start with three units from the former brigades, plus Robbo, Barry, Kent, Toni, Maria, Caieyarn, Greg and Roger in our appliances, took a while to clear the creek, and longer to clear around a difficult first home, where more garden rubbish tossed down a narrow gully produced a fiery spectacle. From there we again placed our units behind various homes along Sierra Drive, and despite the increasing nor-westerly winds, took the fire along between the steep drop off the plateau and the smoked out residences. The eastern end of these houses adjoined an open park so control became easier as Steve, from Tamborine, continued his fine run, easing the fire down to the rainforest surrounding Sandy Creek. A final flurry of fire in long grass and a welcome cool sou-easterly wind change left the fire progressing steadily down the northern flank but safely clear of all habitation.
The first rain for a month took out almost all the fire overnight, so the northern section will have to be completed from below at a future date, but Parks were happy with the mosaic of burn achieved to date, the homes adjacent to the National Park have their risk of bushfire greatly reduced, and we all gained a lot of experience in the process. Many thanks for the superb work of all the crews in often very difficult circumstances.