On the morning of Friday 18/1/13 we were advised that TM41 might be required sometime during the day to assist at the Pine Forest. Fire had been burning there for several days. However, at 1509 we received a cryptic page to “WALS BLOCK” which proved to be in the Pine Forest, near Tamborine village. A back-burn had broken across containment lines and potentially threatened houses. Help was needed urgently. TM51 with Roger (TM1), Paul (TM3), Barry and Donna plus TM41 with Maria and Robbo responded promptly. We reported on site to OIC Trevor Henderson of Tamborine RFB. As so often at other peoples’ fires we met many friends and well-known faces which led to cordial greetings all round.
Our first assigned task was to back-burn the area outlined in red on the map. TM51 did the western flank while TM41 plus J51 did the eastern one. Fuel in the area was sparse and burning was slow and difficult. The crew on TM51 worked so hard that they used up all their drip torch fuel. When the eastern flank burn was completed J51 was released and TM41 was tasked to patrol the track outlined in purple. The area to the north had been burned and many tree stumps near the track were still alight. To the south was dense pine forest with a heavy mat of pine needles. In the prevailing conditions the pine needles were highly flammable and a single ember could have set them off. Had that happened it would have been very hard to save the nearby houses. TM41 extinguished all threats along about 2/3rds of the length of the track until we were released – with T41 taking over from us. TM51 had also been released.
We were back at the Station by 1930 with yet another job well done.
The Pine Forest fire made all the Queensland TV news bulletins – mainly as aerial shots of extensive smoke cover