Locals battle Rosedale fires


Locals battle Rosedale fires

Containment: Ruby firefighter Tim Hardacre controls cinders at the Rosedale fires.

FIREFIGHTERS and tankers from at least 12 local brigades were deployed to control the Rosedale fires, on the January 4 total fire ban day.
The District 9024 Strike Team involved tankers from Ruby, Berrys Creek and Pound Creek, along with a Toora big fill water truck.
Local brigades involved in the operation included firefighters and personnel from Leongatha and Leongatha South, Koonwarra, Meeniyan, Inverloch (deploying a Forward Command Vehicle), Kongwak, Korumburra, Loch and Mirboo North.
“An asset protection unit was first deployed last Friday, 4 January, at about midnight. That unit’s shift I was involved with went through until 9am the following morning,” Ruby firefighter Darren Hardacre said.
“We were deployed at the intersections of Rosedale and Longford roads, the northern sector of the fires, for wind protection.
“The following day, Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMV) and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) crews attended the day shift.
Leongatha CFA volunteer Scott Cameron was deployed for fire duty the following Monday. He recalled the sheer width of the fire and tricky terrain.
Ironically, he got an early glimpse of the fires he would later attend, returning from holidays between Sale and Rosedale when it was only a few acres in size.
“I was called out at about lunch time the following Monday, January 7 and stayed on duty until midnight,” Mr Cameron said.
“Our staging and task area was based at the Rosedale Speedway, where mapping, food and mechanics were headquartered.
“We were slightly restricted in our operation due to the sandy and boggy terrain.
“At the time I was there, the burnt area comprised about 12,000 hectares and the front of the fire was about 60km in length.
“I believe aircraft were deployed for the very first time in Australia, during a night time water bombing operation, equipped with night-vision instrumentation optics.
“At the northern flank, about 12-13 aircraft flew over. I saw two air tractors spraying that can accommodate nearly 3000 liters of water.
“Large Air Tankers (LAT’s), Elvis (Erickson S-64 air-crane helicopter) and Sikorski aircraft were helping too.
“All up at least a few hundred firefighters would have been there, containing the fire.
Both local firefighters confirmed no serious injuries to any local personnel.
As of going to print, the fires continue to burn but are currently contained.

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