One thing with my life, it is like a magical mystery tour - you never know where I will be.
With the warming weather curing this massive growth and a lot of dry lightning storms there have been some large fires threatening townships and station homesteads.
The role of the SA crew has been to burn strategic breaks around Alice Springs and provide a rapid response to nearby fires.
My role has been that of a Planning Officer within the Incident Management Team. The amazing thing about these fires is the sheer size of them (e.g. 4000 square km just for a single fire) and the small amount of resources managing these fires.
Today started early with lightning heading through Central Australia starting a number of new fires. So apart from chasing up information on existing fires, it was a case of chase up on the new ones as well.
The temps were high today with 35 degrees and some good winds so fires were moving well. The main fires giving more interest were east and west of Alice Springs.
We were starting to wind down when I starting doing a scan of the latest satellite data and spotted some new fires south west near Yulara and on the Stuart Highway north of Ti Tree. Another flurry of work then it was time to head back to the hotel.
It was only 5 minutes back at the hotel and a fire started directly across the road. Our crews were out working north of town so we rang the local crew and watched them get to work.
Time for an ice cold beer to finish the day
One thing about working for the Fire Service is that you never know what your day will bring particularly when you are on call.
Looking at my calendar in the morning and it looked like it was going to be a normal sort of day with a lot of meetings finishing up with the AGM for my volunteer Fire Brigade in the night.
The first obstacle for the day was getting to work. It used to be that it would take about 20-25 minutes to travel the 12 kms to work but with weather, roadworks and an almost endless stream of vehicles it is now taking up to an hour.
I have been trying alternative routes to see if I can get in quicker – the one today didnt seem too bad.
First meeting for the day was the State Bushfire Coordination Committee. About an hour in, off goes my pager. It was for a radiation incident at a recycling company. I made a quick couple of calls and organised my #2 to attend in my place. I rang him a couple of hours later when my meeting finished and he was still there
Time for lunch and a group of us went off to Chinatown for a “#11 with extra chilli” from Singapore Delights.
Time for another meeting – this time with SA Police to discuss road closure procedures for motorsport events in the future.
Some more time back in the office before heading home to spend a couple of minutes with the family and “Molly” before heading back to the city for the Coromandel Valley Country Fire Service AGM. Not sure whether it was worth going home.
This year was an election year and there were some changes with a new Captain and Lieutenant for the Brigade.
After a great meal at Pellegrini Cafe it was back to the station to discuss the future over a few ales – but not for me as I am still on call ….
That’s it for this month.
Today was to an average sort of day so I thought I would match Foursquare check-ins I had during the day with a photo of each location. It ended up I had too many photos today with the day almost ending up with a bang.
The day started out quiet in our street but heading to work I got held up by a freight train at the Blackwood Railway Station (Foursquare Mayor here). Stopped off at the Blackwood Post Office (Foursquare Mayor here) to pick up the latest Geocoin Club geocoin.
Got held up some more on the way into Adelaide with a number of roadworks. It is not too much of a problem as the car tends to be a mobile office these days anyway. Arrived at the Adelaide Fire Station (Foursquare Mayor here).
A normal sort of day and one of my cohorts suggested lunch at Chinatown and in particular one our favourite haunts – Singapore Delights (Foursquare Mayor here). We walked down through Victoria Square to a packed Chinatown but another great meal of #11 with extra chilli.
Walked back to work through the Central Market and finsihed off my Fire Service day or so I thought.
After work it was time to go to the Scouts Rally SA Office (Foursquare Mayor here) to put in another 5 hours with the Rally only 2 weeks away. On arrival, Ivar told me there was some sort of gas leak in the front office.
After a quick sniff, it was time to bring in some guys in a “Big Red Truck” to use the meters to find the source of the gas. After a bit of detecting and searching, we came up that it was a refigerant gas leak from the air conditioner. Thats a job for tomorrow and we had work to do tonight.
We rugged up, turned off the heat and opened the windows, got down to it and finally came up with a Draft Entry List for the Rally at 11 pm.
The day didn’t start well with a couple of Geocaching Events I was planning being knocked back for approval. After doing a little research and a letter to the Ump, I hope that he will reconsider the Events and have them listed.
Today was my annual Breathing Apparatus Re-accreditation. It involves some theory, then some drills in the Training Tower where the house prop and cage prop are darkened, filled with smoke and “heavy” dummies, we suit up in our Fire-fighting PPE, Breathing Apparatus, take in hoselines and drag out all the dummies.
Even though today was cool and drizzly, it was still warm enough to work up a sweat.
The day finished on a high though with a FTF on a cache at Upper Sturt on the way home, GC2D8VT – Beagles Boyfriend
Today was the final day for the Wildland Urban Interface Conference and the morning had some interesting sessions:
- Fatigue Management on Wildland Fires by Pete Lawrence from Oceanside FD
- Urban / Wildland Firefighters and Heat Injury by Vaughan Miller from Ventura County FD;
- The Station Fire by John Tripp from LA County FD
It had been snowing for the last 3 days with an additional 45cm of snow on the ground – all the best for the skiing on the weekend.
We visited North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District as they staff three 20-person fire crews. When not on assignment, crews implement fuels treatments within the District. Government agencies contract with the District to implement fuels treatments on their property. On private land the District assists property owners with laying out projects and securing funding.
Hand-thinning and pile-burning is implemented to reduce heavy fuel loading that contributes to the risk of a catastrophic wildfire, and to reduce stand density to a level that promotes a healthy and resilient ecosystem. The district has treated 656 acres with under story fire since the program’s inception.
Chief Mike Brown and Captain Steve Alcorn took me on a visit of their Station which ran an Engine, Truck, 2 Brush Trucks, Heavy Rescue, 2 EMS Rescues, 4 Crew Buggies, snow vehicles and water craft. During the tour, they received a call for smoke in a Realtor’s Office so I got to go on the run which didnt end up being anything.
Chief Brown gave us a ride back to town via the Mt Rose Ski Resort. He just happens to be working at the resort on Saturday as Ski Patrol so will catch up again then.