Early on Thursday, 25th October Maria, Caie and Robbo left for Greenbank and the Spring Mountain fire. The Greenbank Brigade had all been stood down to give them some rest following their sustained effort over almost two weeks. The ICC was being run by Rural Ops officers. The area was divided into a Western and an Eastern district with the objective of completely blacking out the perimeter (no smoke, no grey ash) to at least 30 metres in. This was both to prevent re-ignition of the fire and to reassure local residents, particularly by the absence of smoke, that the fire was indeed out. The large number of new, attractive houses right on the edge of the forest was very apparent along much of the Eastern flank.
TM51 was assigned to the Eastern District with Clinton Neumann as I/C. We were in company with Chambers Flat 52 and Wasp Creek 51. The task was to patrol up and down the whole extent (about 7 km) of the Eastern edge of the fire and black out thoroughly. This we did as a team. For lunch we returned to Greenbank Station and there found an impressive feed. The entire Station shed had become a restaurant ‘Gourmet Grub on Greenbank’ with Caroline from Chambers Flat as its moving force. First time ever for ice-cream at firies’ lunch – and a choice of three flavours at that!
Later in the afternoon we were detached to visit the owner of 116 Tully Road. Some harsh words had been exchanged with firies earlier in the week. This time all was sweet. We spoke to the owner who was happy and we cemented this by speaking to his dogs and his nice pigs. Finally we removed a big, fallen tree which was blocking his track. On Wednesday another crew had attempted this but had broken their chainsaw and left the tree. The tree trunk was large and it was in the tricky state of strong lateral compression. We were fortunate that our Huskie saw had been Don-Hawkins-sharpened and cut though the wood like butter. However, despite wedge cuts from both top and bottom, the compression nipped the chain in the final few millimetres. Forward Maria with a snatch strap. A neat pull broke the cut, pulled the tree trunk off the track and freed the saw. On reporting to Clinton we were stood down and did this via Greenbank Station and some more food goodies.
Another good day for the Brigade. After the following day, our final at this fire, our Brigade had contributed over 425 man (and women) hours of work to its extinguishment.