by John Robertson
On Thursday 20th May Roger (TM2), Mal and Andy in 52 and Don and Robbo in 51 set off for Cedar Creek Road to help Parks with their burn. The area is shown on the Google map attached. It is the ‘other half’ of the Knoll Road burn which we did with Parks last year. It lies to north of Tamborine Mountain Road, covers 57 hectares as shown on the attached map and had not been burnt for 12 years.
Professional, one-way traffic control using a lead truck to prevent speeding, was set up on the Tamborine Mountain Road. This allowed us to operate safely on ‘our’ (north) side of the road and gave the traffic smoke free conditions for most of the time. I/C was John Kennedy of Parks and he gave a relaxed briefing at 1000. Conditions were near ideal with temperature in the low 20s, humidity in the 60s and the wind very light from a southerly direction. The aim, as is standard with Parks, was to do an ‘ecological burn’ which aims for a mosaic with 60% to 70% only being burnt. The team was divided into two sectors; sector 1 boss was Mark Patenaude of Parks and he had his own truck plus TM51 and TM52. Sector 2 boss was Alison Ilic of Parks with four Parks trucks. At 1100 we started the burn at the initial ignition point. Sector 1 trucks went south and then clockwise while sector 2 went north and then anti-clockwise doing full edge burns in both cases.
Around 1300 we had a break for lunch provided by Parks with nice rolls as the main course. By about 1600 we met up on the western flank at the point shown on the map. This completed the burn around a perimeter of some 3,300 metres. For sector 1 Mark did the initial burning but TM52 later took on the lion’s share of that task. There was the usual difficulty in getting lantana or succulent vines to take fire. TM51 brought up the rear and did infill burning but mostly made sure that the fire did not take hold of stags or other trees near the road. The experience of trees taking fire and then falling across the road after the Knoll burn underlined the importance of this job. When the crews had met up and the whole burn had been completed, we then mopped up to create a ‘black edge’ of fully 30 metres. This was done thoroughly. Our work was later reinforced by a useful fall of rain overnight – sometimes the weather does exactly the right thing! During the burn TM51 and TM52 both acted as tankers, on separate occasions, to re-water Parks trucks. TM51 also used its portable pump to refill itself and two of the Parks trucks at the creek (as shown on the map). Using TM51’s portable pump, which self-primes, reminded us that the drill is to fill the pump body with water and then run the engine for fully a minute during which time no water flows. Then the prime is completed and 500 litres/minute is available.
At about 1730, when it was fairly dark, we reported to the I/C, John Kennedy, who thanked us all for a job well done. Thereafter we went back to the Station. It was Andy’s first time at a fire with the Brigade and he did a first rate job