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Celebrate our success
In March members of CFA, DELWP and Mt Alexander Shire Council, along with members of the public, went to the site of a fire in Fryerstown which ignited in December 2015.
The purpose of the visit was to discuss actions taken on the day of the fire as well as the local burn regime.
On 19 December 2015, there was a Total Fire Ban, with the temperatures reaching 42 degrees and accompanied by howling winds. At 6.54pm Fryerstown brigade was organising its Christmas BBQ but before a snag could reach their mouths the pagers went off. Fryerstown, Campbells Creek, Guildford, Taradale and Elphinstone Brigades, as well as a DELWP crew, quickly answered the call.
The fire began from a lightning strike and was racing up a 15 degree slope of thick stringybark forest. Incident Controller Shelley Hillman from Fryerstown Brigade quickly took control of the incident organising crews. Embers launched from the top of the ridge landing where the DELWP crews had positioned themselves. They did the 'Stringybark Shuffle' stomping on embers with their boots to extinguish them, as the Brigades tackled the fire front which had quickly crowned. A load of water was also dropped from an aircraft which had to leave promptly to help at another fire in Sutton Grange.
The fire itself had the potential of moving from Fryerstown to the more southern communities of Drummond and Glenlyon before the impending wind change. Luckily, in the past few years DELWP have been involved in an intense burn plan around Fryerstown successfully reducing fuel loads around the town. The burn regime not only protects Fryerstown but other neighbouring communities.
Looking at the fire ground three months later it was clear to see the fuel reduction process had enabled brigades, DELWP and the Shire to quickly control the fire. We should take some time to acknowledge and celebrate the success of the combined efforts of CFA, DELWP and the Shire resources in tackling incidents which may prevent small fires becoming significant events. Well done to all involved.