September Fires

by John Robertson

During the second part of September the Brigade has attended four incidents – and the month is not over yet. The first fire was on the 14th and was our doorstep just below the skateboard bowl beside the Vonda Youngman Hall. TM1 (John H), Barry and Robbo attended in TM52 followed by Roger and John F in TM51. Tony was on base radio. The fire was a small one giving every sign of having been deliberately lit in a small woodpile. It was thoroughly extinguished and the incident reported to the Police.

The next incident was on the 18th and was in the far west of Beaudesert Shire off Washpool Road. Roger and Robbo in TM41 formed part of a Strike Team with 41’s from Tamborine and Greenbank. We met at 15.00 in the Coles car park in Beaudesert and drove in convoy to the location via the Boonah-Ipswich Road. The extensive fire was in its second day and had been mostly controlled. Kaye Healing was the I/C. Together with local Brigades (some of whom had helped us at the Goat Track fire) the Team’s job was to ensure that the area was entirely blacked out because a very high fire danger with high winds was forecast. This was done successfully and the fire remained dead during the high fire danger period. One of EMQ’s mobile relay transmitters was on site to give communications with Firecom. It had a big high mast, more electronic gear than you could poke a stick at plus two white-coated operators- but it didn’t work. The only contact with Firecom was via the Cessna spotter plane that circled overhead for a time. Towards the end of our shift a local owner asked for help to fell a burning candle on his property. TM41’s crew responded and were led to a rather large tree emitting an impressive shower of sparks. The tree was chainsawed, fell in the exact position specified and was then totally extinguished. The owner was vehement in his thanks. We returned to the staging area and after a good feed and handshakes all round with our colleagues set off for home independently. Standown was at 22.40.

On the evening of the 21st Roger and Malcolm (newly FM1 qualified) went to help Tamborine RFB at a grass fire near Vonda Youngman Road. This had been a very intense grass fire in a very high fire danger period and TRFB had been flat out controlling it. Our crew relieved them and ensured that the fire did not relight or spread beyond the containment lines. The job was done entirely in darkness and very successfully. Standown was at 01.30 on the 22nd.

At midday on the 22nd (Saturday) we were paged to assist the TM Auxiliaries who were on site at a fire at Wongawallen Road. The location proved to be our old friend Panorama Point; indeed it was almost at the very place where Paul had us do a training exercise a week previously. Peter Mason was I/C. TM41 had Paul (acting TM1) and Neville while TM52 had Ken, Roger and Robbo. Tony was on Base Radio. The site was steep and rock strewn with a moderate fuel load but with several log piles. Paul and Neville concentrated on preventing the fire spreading to a property near the end of the bitumen road. Will Buch arrived and advised on tactics for what could have been a very dangerous fire. Fortunately the weatherman took a hand and provided an intense though short lived shower. This made it much easier to contain the fire which was done and the burnt area limited to about 3 hectares. Notwithstanding the rain, large fallen logs and standing trees continued to burn strongly in the black. TMRFB took over responsibility for the fire and Paul decided to have a series of patrols to monitor the state of the burning trees and logs. In the late evening of the 22nd Paul and Roger did a patrol and noted three burning trees one of which might fall across the containment line. Early on the morning of the 23rd Neville and Robbo did a patrol and in the early afternoon Paul and Rory did likewise. They stood down at 14.50 which was the formal end of the incident.

Posted in Incident Reports