Saturday, November 5, 2011

Firefighting - First Burn

This week I attended my first controlled burn as a volunteer firefighter. The burn was planned to take place in Bullock Hill Conservation Park near Ashbourne on the Fleurieu Peninsular, South of Adelaide. These burns are performed to reduce the fuel load, and therefore the likelyhood of a damaging bushfire in the summer. While waiting in the staging area, 11 Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos flew over and some briefly perched close enough to take a pic with my point and shoot. Our first job was to head off to nearby Scott Conservation Park to assist in mopping up after a burn the previous day. We were in a Quick Response Vehicle (QRV) which is a 4WD ute with a 400 litre tank, pump and hose reel onboard. This burn was very successful as can be seen from the photo. This bracket fungus was covered in ash but otherwise undamaged. Early afternoon saw us back at Buffalo Hill, where the larger appliances, (this one is "Cleland 34" carrying 3000 litres of water on a 4WD truck chassis), were waiting along with a Eurocopter AS350 Squirrel helicopter. The helicopter was used to ignite the fire as two previous attempts had been unsuccessful. Our attempt fared little better and the fire was all but out within a hour.

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