The incident, which flared up on Thursday 17 October to the east of Balmoral village, continued for over a week, destroying over 16,000 hectares of land, 2 dwellings and numerous sheds and structures.
The brigade’s volunteer members gave freely of their time to assist in fighting this fire knowing that, if a similar event broke-out in Canyonleigh, other brigades would gladly reciprocate.
Briefly, here’s a rundown of our contribution:
Thursday 17 October: Cat 1 (3,000 litre tanker max crew of 6) with a crew of five deployed to the Yerrinbool sector of the fire from 1900 to 0800 on Friday morning. Principal duties were the patrolling of the P3 trail after a backburn had been put in to try and control the Southern Edge of the fire. The night was spent blacking out the edge of the line, about 6,000 litres of water were used refilling being done from a bulk water tanker on site and hydrants in Yerrinbool. The highlight was definitely the generosity of the locals with homemade biscuits and water being delivered at 0300 on Friday morning.
Saturday 19. Cat 1 with a crew of four was deployed to the Wilton sector from 0700 to 2000. The task was to patrol the eastern edge of the fire and to determine if had jumped the control line. A breach was ascertained but it was off the cliff edge down towards the escarpment and unreachable on foot. Air support was called resulting in successful suppression of the breach. The rest of the day was spent patrolling and blacking out the edge with trucks from other Brigades acting as water relays.
Sunday 20. Cat 1 with a crew of three was deployed to the Balmoral Village from 0700 to 2100 to patrol and to do Property Protection if required. The day consisted of a wide variety of jobs consisting of extinguishing small runs the fire had made from the control line, reburning areas along Wilson Drive, putting a back burn in to protect property, dragging burning trees that had fallen across control lines and in the evening participating in a multitruck backburn.
Monday 21. Cat 1 with a crew of four was deployed to Hill Top from 0700 to 1900. Initially the task was to patrol a control line however a National Parks Remote Area Firefighting Team (RAFT) reported a flare up to the North of where they were trying to put a hand tool control line in. The RAFT had come back up from Cave Creek as the fire was potentially too dangerous. With the help of 5 helicopters conducting water bombing activities 3 crew ran a hose line down to the fire to stop its spread. Eventually 9 hoses (270m) were used as the hose line was run down into Cave creek. The rest of the day was spent working with the RAFT team controlling flare ups and directing air support. Many tanks of water were used with other Brigades acting as water relays. All of the 25ml hose from the Cat 1 have been left at this fire.
Tuesday 22. No trucks deployed
Wednesday 23. Cat 1 with a crew of four deployed from Hill Top from 0700 to 1900 tasked to patrol an area north of the village which was the scene of a large HR two days prior. Jobs consisted of extinguishing small flare-ups created by strong winds, posting at Wilson Road to `watch & act’ should a flare-up eventuate with high winds in the late afternoon.
Brigade members who volunteered their time to attend this major incident included Captain Mark Pearson, Senior Deputy Captain Brett Bannerman, Deputy Captains Peter Attreed & Michael Trevisiol, Adam Stefanuik, Frank Downs, Rob Crough and Terry Biscoe.