I thought I'd add a little about what we're experiencing. With a couple of photos. The photos are nowhere near as graphic as those to be seen elsewhere, but I don't usually have time to take many. The fires themselves are still going, though hopefully the major destruction and taking of lives has finished. The weather here is warming up again, and there are fears that some of the fires could break out - we'll just have to do our best to stop this happening.

On another thread somewhere, a person from California had to post how they have this sort of thing every year, blah blah blah. As if it's a contest. You know "mine is bigger than yours', that sort of crap. I managed to stop myself from answering him with the scorn he deserved, but only just. This is not a 'contest'. We are not saying that our fires are bigger than anyone elses. We are saying that we are experiencing the worst natural disaster that Australia has ever known, that's all.

So now a couple of photos.

This was on my run the day things went pear-shaped. Saturday the 7th Feb 2009. We had just been pulled out from the right hand edge of that smoke - two urban pumpers could do nothing against that fire.

Night shift on day two. This was a long way behind the front, we were patrolling.

Same area as the last shot. Chum Creek is the name of the tiny town, houses were lost here. We were lining up to get water from the tanker (a milk tanker in normal life?). The vehicle being filled is what we call a 'Tanker' - a structural/wildfire firefighting vehicle.

Please use this thread to ask questions. Many of you will have seen news articles, read other things on the net, whatever. I've seen a lot of factual errors in non-Australian media articles. Perhaps I can help to correct those errors.

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WOW I feel for you Brother it looks as if the world is ending out there. Some pretty awesome pics Brother, Let all of the troops know we are behind you even if we cannot be there in person, in spirit we are. Be Safe Brother and we will be praying for you for a quick end to this fire.
Keep safe Tony
On our news the other night(sorry about who's got the biggest) I was interested to see them produce how many had died in wildfire through out history.
The winner or loser is Winconsin 1850 somthing about 1200 to 2500 death they guessed, it stunned me
P.S. I am of to Alexandra sunday
Alexandra? That area is looking very risky, stay safe mate. I'm listed for night shift Sunday - we've been working in the northern Yarra Valley, but who knows what Sunday will bring?
Hey both of you Wildfire & Tony. Stay safe out there. mike
Not creating defensible space ahead of time is just another reason why we loose structures. When the fuel is adjacent to houses and not cleared over 100-feet away, the result is bye bye structure...

Defensible space... what I don't understand Tony is why the tactics seen on the internet and news only showed direct attacks verses indirect attack tactics where you use heavy dozers to make fuel breaks or use back fires to create black areas to protect homes. It sure works for us...

Or, how about foam and go policies or bump and run tactics?

Region 16 has supplied a strike team with a four day or night roster till whenever. We go up by bus.
I have to drive my strike team leader around, my group officer, my Mayor, my CFA board member,
The Mighty Kevin Irwin :)
I will have fun stiring him :)
Anyone with that many jobs deserves to be stirred!

And my shift has been changed. Nightshift tomorrow night now :)
Mike, we do use the dozer, grader, plough method around fields - farm owners are 'encouraged' to do so. And when we have a fire, those methods are once again used, along with backburning. Where the fires caused most devestation on Saturday none of those methods were available. Farms could well have had the bare earth strips around their fields. This isn't possible in townships. The fire simply moved too quickly for earth moving equipment, and it was too dangerous for backburning - the wind was too strong. Plus the terrain up which the fire travelled to wipe out townships is too steep. The worst thing was the time factor. There was simply no time to do anything in most cases.

Clearing land around houses? We try to get people to clear the ground, but in the interface areas most councils refuse permission to cut down trees. Clearing at ground level certainly helps of course - but we had crown fires all around on Saturday.

Foam and go? Too large an area, too many buildings, many places with limited access. And again, the time factor. Far too little time. Too few appliances in any one area - even with its more than 2500 appliances, the CFA had the whole State at risk, they couldn't be grouped in any one area. Nobody could tell which area, if any, would be hit the hardest.

One of the worst things we face, is spotting. These fires were spotting 30 and more kilometres. That's over 18 miles. Spot fies were starting over that whole sort of distance for all the different fires. We had over 400 bushfires start in the State on that one day.
Best wishes and best of luck to everyone involved in this disaster. Good pictures Tony. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you.
Considering the extent of the fire I'd say you have done and excellent job with available equipment and manpower, I have been on some wildfires and I have seen how fast conditions can change and the fire can breakout and take off. Anyway take care of yourself and be safe
Job well done Tony you guys did what you could do at the time when all hell broke loose be safe out there

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