On Monday and Tuesday, 14th and 15th May 2012, we were paged to two fires in less than 24 hours. This was at a time when the fire risk as per the QFRS maps was ‘in the green” for forests in all of SEQ and for grass fires in the whole of Queensland for the days before, during and after the fires. Notwithstanding this surprise the Brigade performed admirably.
At 19.36 on Monday 14th May we got a page to turnout to a grass fire on Cedar Creek Falls Road. TM 51 and 52 attended with Roger (TM1), John (TM2), Paul (TM3), Barry, Greg and Robbo. Chris was available at the Station.
The ‘grass fire’ was a small camp fire – about half a metre across – being used by a party of three young visitors from Ireland. It was near their old van which was parked just off the road. They had set the fire carefully and it was well under control but, given the report to Firecom, we were obliged to put it out which we did. We all felt a bit mean depriving the visitors of their light and heat but Roger gave them some bottles of water which were welcomed with a big hug from the nice girl. The vehicles were back at the Station by 20.29 – a cycle time from pager sent to job complete of under an hour!
Less than 24 hours later, at 14.22 on Tuesday 15th May, we were paged to a real grass fire in the land behind the Eagle Heights Hotel. See attached map with Eagle Heights Hotel in the upper centre. TM 51 and 52 again deployed. Most members came in the trucks but some came in their own cars. Those involved were: Roger, John, Keith, Geoff, Greg, Chris, Maria, Donna and Robbo.
The Auxiliaries (with Danny Edser as I/C) were already on scene working within the range of their hoses near the upper end of the fire. Close to the trucks there was a large, long pile of timber where the flat, open area had been cleared and the felled trees bulldozed over the edge. The Auxiliaries performed a vital role in saturating this heavy timber in foam and extinguishing it completely. Had they not done so it would have burned for days and potentially threatened the Eagle Heights Hotel.
As the map shows the fire extended for a long way, about 250 metres, down the steep slope. There was a fall of 144 metres over the distance giving a slope of 57% – it felt all of that! The usual crumbly soil and loose rocks on the Mountain added to the challenge. The Auxiliary hoses would only go a small part of the way down the slope so our Brigade used beaters and backpacks to tackle the fire. Greg and Robbo had the beaters and John and Keith the backpacks.
The beaters made an excellent job of extinguishing the fire right round the perimeter and the backpacks put out burning logs or stumps that the beaters could not tackle. It was a case study in old-fashioned, manual methods being just what was needed for that particular fire.
While this was going on both TM trucks provided more water to the Auxiliaries and then re-filled from the hydrant at the Hotel.
By 1600 the fire was effectively out and TM51 returned to the Station. TM52 remained at the fire and monitored some still-smoking logs and tree stumps to ensure they did not flare up and, possibly, roll burning down the hill and re-start the fire.
Another top performance by the Brigade and first rate cooperation with our Auxiliary colleagues.