Fire on the Limestone Plains/Interstate and Overseas Deployments

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1994 NSW Bush Fires[edit | edit source]

The first significant deployment by the ACT Bushfire Service was during the 1994 NSW Bush Fires.[1]

On Thursday 6 January the first Task Force (consisting of 4 fire fighting and 2 support vehicles) left for Sydney at 190hrs. The Task Force was made up of 12 RFS volu8nteers, 9 ACT Fire Brigade personnel, 4 SES volunteers and 1 ACT Ambulance paramedic. The Task Force Leader was Superintendent David Mackin.

On Saturday 8 January, a further request for assistance from the NSW Fire Brigade, for 2 urban pumpers and 2 District Officers. In addition the ACT Chief Fire Control Officer Peter Lucas-Smith responded to the NSW Bushfire HQ to provide support to their Control Centre. The ACT Rural Fire Service contracted helicopter was also deployed for water bombing activities in the Blue Mountains.

On Sunday the 9th of January a relief Task Force departed Canberra to relieve the first Task Force. Task force 3 departed on Tuesday the 11th of January, with the 4th Task Force departing on Thursday the 13th of January.

A total of 211 personnel (including 72 Rural Fire Service members) took part in fire fighting operations in and around Sydney from the 6th to the 15th of January 1994.[2]

ACT's emergency team honour roll

The ACT Emergency Management Group - ACT personnel who fought the fires in Sydney and the Blue Mountains in the past fortnight.

ACT RURAL FIRE SERVICE - Peter Lucas Smith, David Woods, Bill Todkill, Les Aylet, Jason Meredith, Ian Smith, John Irvine, Richard Phelps, David Sait, David Campbell, Andrew Tavers, Don Bushby, James Marshall, Peter Coble, Scott Seymour, David Heritage, Peter Ipkendanz, Geoff Green, Arthur Huxley, Dennis Gray, Graham Simpson, Robert Johnson, Rod Anderson, David Ingram, David Drady, Stephen Peak, Clyde Hunt, Matthew Smith, Tony Plumb, Brian O'Conner, Andrew Weaver, Jeff McClarnon, Steve Christasen, Travis Ecclestone, Peter Moore, David Ferry, Neil Williams, Doug Mitchell, Kevin Bolton, David Burggraaff, David Broderick, George McClarnon, Ian Southwell, Mick Woods, Christopher O'Neill, Graham Plumb, Gordon Stone, Cliff Stevens, Rodney Bates, Frank Casey, Stephen Weatherall, Scott Alexander Teys, Andrew Gordon Douglas, Chris Hermens, Phil Blayden, Simon Katz, Michael Comerford, Nigel Edwards, Phil Helming, Andy Fulton, Brian O'Conner, Ian Bland, Brian Flynn, Tony Greep, Shaun O'Conner, Brett Collis, Tim Sullivan, Nick Potter, Marshall McCaughy, Tony Brownlie, Ian McArthur.[3]

1997[edit | edit source]

Yass River Road (N.S.W.) 22 December 1997[edit | edit source]

The fire which started around 2.00pm at the junction of Yass River Road and Corrigan’s Road (20 km south-east of Yass), burnt out around 3000 hectares of pasture and scrub with some stock losses. Around 8.00pm Monday 22 December 1997 an ACT Bushfire Service Strike Force left to assist New South Wales Rural Fire Service Units at a bushfire about 20 km south-east of Yass. The ACT Strike Force was led by Andy Fulton (HALL 1) and consisted of 7 Bushfire Units manned by 25 volunteers from Hall, Molonglo, Gungahlin, Jerrabomberra and Rivers Brigades.

1998[edit | edit source]

Dingi Dingi Range - 2 January 1998[edit | edit source]

The fire was started by a lightning strike late Thursday afternoon 1 January 1998 and burnt out 200 hectares (500 acres) of native (Eucalypt) forest. 12 ACT Bushfire Service units and 3 ACT Emergency Service units in attendance, as well units from Yarrowlumla Shire (NSW) and Parks and Conservation Service (NSW). Five (12 hour) shifts were used over Friday to late Sunday afternoon when the last ACT crews were released.

Melrose Pines - 28 January 1998[edit | edit source]

The fire was detected around 4.30pm and burnt out 60 hectares (150 acres) including 40 hectares (100 acres) in adjoining New South Wales and 10 hectares (25 acres) of pine plantation the rest was native (Eucalypt) bush and grassland. A number of properties were also threatened. 22 ACT Bushfire Service units, 2 ACT Fire Brigade appliances and 2 ACT Emergency Service units (there were also 20 Units from Queanbeyan/Yarrowlumla RFS) on the 28 January in attendance and 5 Bushfire Service units in attendance on the 29 January.

Lake Road, Bungendore - 13 March 1998[edit | edit source]

Around 12.00pm Friday 13 March 1998, with TOBAN’s enforced both in the Australian Capital Territory and neighbouring New South Wales, the first ACT Bushfire Service Strike Force responded to Bungendore to assist at the Lake Road Fire. A second Strike force left Canberra around an hour later.

The fire which started around 9.55am on Lake Road in the vicinity of the “Douglas” property and burnt out around 900 hectares with one structure lost and another damaged.

Around 50 units from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, New South Wales Fire Brigade, ACT Bushfire Service and ACT Fire Brigade were involved in suppressing the fire. New South Wales Units came from as far away as Narooma and Marulan. Additionally 3 helicopters, 2 fixed wing aircraft and 2 dozers were also used.

The first Strike Force was led by Clyde Hunt (Guises Creek 1) and consisted of three Bushfire Tankers from Hall, Rivers and Guises Creek Brigades. The second Strike Force was led by Graham (Storky) Plumb (Jerrabomberra 1) with two Tanker / Light Unit combinations from Jerrabomberra and Southern Districts Brigades.

2006[edit | edit source]

ACT Strike Force to Narrabri and Coonabarabran December 2nd, 2006[edit | edit source]

Twenty volunteers from the ACT Rural Fire Service have been deployed to the Narrabri and Coonabarabran areas of NSW to assist in fighting bushfires. The force is made up of two heavy tankers, three light units and two command vehicles. The crews were from Rivers, Jerrabomberra, Hall, Guises Creek and Gungahlin volunteer bushfire brigades ACT Rural Fire Service crews worked on the Kerringle Fire along with crews from NSW RFS and Queensland Fire and Rescue.

Two ACT Task Force’s to Victoria 2006[edit | edit source]

On Friday, 8 December 2006 following a request from CFA Victoria, the ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) sent a task force to Victoria to assist with their growing bushfire situation. The task force is made up of resources and personnel from the ACT Ambulance Service, ACT Rural Fire Service and ACT State Emergency Service, along with a support crew from the ACT ESA.

This included eight ACT RFS appliances (six heavy Tankers and two Command Units) and around 40 firefighters from the Jerrabomberra, Rivers, Gungahlin, Molonglo, Hall & Southern Districts Volunteer Brigades

The A.C.T. crews worked to protect properties in the Mansfield and Wangaratta regions.

On Wednesday, 20 December 2006 Following another request from CFA Victoria overnight, the ACT ESA sent a second task force, to assist the Victorian bushfire fighting effort.

This included six ACT RFS appliances (three CAFS units and three heavy tankers) and around 40 firefighters from the Jerrabomberra, Rivers, Gungahlin, Molonglo, Hall & Guises Creek Volunteer Brigades.

The crews from the ACT were deployed on the Eurobin Sector of the Buffalo Division of the Ovens Fire. Their sector is located between Myrtleford and Bright, along the Great Alpine Road.

2007[edit | edit source]

Snowy Mountains (Long Plain Complex) fires NSW February 2007

Two fires were started by lightning on Friday night 2 February in rugged terrain between the Snowy Mountains Highway and Tantangara Reservoir in the Snowy Mountains, both (Rules Point and Peak Back Ridge) are about 30 km south east of Talbingo near the Snowy Mountains Highway.

On Sunday afternoon (4th Feb.) an ACT RFS strike team left Canberra for the fires. They were involved in back burning operations overnight off the Snowy Mountains Highway and Spicer’s Creek fire trail. The next day the first ACT RFS task force left to relieve the strike team and commenced work on the Peak Back Ridge fire.

By the morning of Tuesday 6 February the Rules Point Fire located between the Snowy Mountains Highway and Long Pine Road approx 30 km south-east of Talbingo was burning within established control lines and considered contained. This fire burnt out approximately 2500ha. By 11 February firefighting operations began to scale down as a result of the overnight rain. The Long Plain Complex Fires burnt over 18000ha.

The "Black Saturday" Bushfires Feb 2009[edit | edit source]

The Black Saturday Bushfires started on the 7th of February 2009 in Victoria, a 173 people were killed and over 400,000 hectares were burnt. 120 people were killed in the Kinglake Area alone.

On Sunday 8 Feb 2009 The first ACT Taskforce (Task Force 1) left to assist Victoria. Task Force 1 were deployed to the fire at Beechworth (the Beechworth Fire was one of 400 fires burning across the State on Saturday), that started at approx. 18:00 hrs. on Saturday 7 February 2009 on Buckland Gap Road and had burnt approximately 30,000 hectares, with a fire perimeter estimated at approximately 280 kilometres. Task Force 1 consists of 2 CAFS units, 5 Heavy Tankers and 3 Light Units from ACT Rural Fire Service and ACT Fire Brigade. The task force was supported by SES, Ambulance, Intact Tech support and workshops appliance maintenance vehicle. A total of 95 personal consisting of volunteers, TAMS and ESA staff made up this Task Force.

ACT Task Force 2 left on 11 February 2009 and relieved the first task force on the fire at Beechworth. A total of 104 personal made up this task force.

The 3rd ACT Task Force deployment departed Canberra at 14:00 hrs. on Saturday 14 February from North Curtin HQ consisting of 107 personnel to relieve Task Force 2, they arrived on 15 February and were staged at Alexandra, working on fire line at Big River not too far from Marysville, 1&1/2 hours from Alexandra. This fire has so far burnt out 120 thousand hectares.

Task Force 4 arrived on the 17 February and now consists of 2 CAFS units, 5 Heavy Tankers and 10 Light Units, a total of 131 personnel. Task Force 4 returned to Canberra on Saturday 21 February

On 27 February Task Force 5 was deployed to the Daylesford area (some 2800 hectares). The task force consists of 5 CAFS units, 5 Heavy Tankers and 5 Light Units. A total of 83 personal make up this taskforce.

Task Force #6 arrived in Daylesford 2 March, with 78 personnel. They were released by the CFA on 4 March 2009, to return to Canberra.

6 ACT Task Force’s ( involving 236 ACT RFS members) were sent to Victoria in February 2009

2013 Blue Mountains Fire Emergency[edit | edit source]

On Thursday 17 October 2013 the ACT Rural Fire Service received a request for assistance from the NSW Rural Fire Service. 10 tankers and 4 command vehicles crewed by ACT RFS volunteers and Parks staff left Canberra for the Blue Mountains. Crews worked for 5 days undertaking a range of tasks before replacement crews arrived.

ACT Taskforce Alpha 22 personnel ACT Taskforce Bravo 26 personnel ACT Taskforce Charlie 24 personnel ACT Taskforce Delta 31 personnel A.C.T. RAFT Team Alpha & Bravo 13 personnel

Task force Alpha and Bravo initially deployed on the Springwood fire at Winmalee. They were then deployed Mt Riverview, Mt Victoria and Mt Wilson at Katoomba

Task force Charlie and Delta tasked on Mount York Fire

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Canberra crews hold the line". The Canberra Times. 11 January 1994. 
  2. Minute Paper to the ACT Chief Minister from R J Dance A/g General Manager Emergency Management Group 27 January 1994
  3. "ACT's emergency team honour roll". The Canberra Times. 16 January 1994.