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Corryong readiness on severe day
Fireman Mitchell Brown, 16, and fellow Country Fire Authority volunteers in the Corryong brigade in northeastern Victoria are bracing themselves for days of hellish heat and fire danger.
Story courtesy of The Australian newspaper
CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson yesterday warned that much of Victoria faced a severe fire danger, with temperatures tipped to reach 44C in the state's north.
The Corryong crew must be at the station within 10 minutes of the call from Group Officer Colin Brown, Mitchell's father. In addition to the fire truck, volunteers are preparing their strike teams, consisting of 20 utes with pumps and 600 litre water tanks.
Mr Brown, a plumber, will be responsible for incident management from Corryong. From there, he will direct eight brigades with 70 volunteers covering an area taking in two hours' drive in any direction. Back-up from Wodonga, nearly 130km away, could take two hours.
"We're on our own out here so we have to be right on the ball and keep our communication going," he said.
He has been watching the conditions worsen for the past fortnight with increasing concern. A freshening southwesterly breeze could help fire sweep the area.
It's been a quiet fire season so far but the grassland surrounding Corryong is fast drying off and the expected hot weather to come will turn it into a tinderbox.
Fortunately, the area is well served by volunteers. Mitchell Brown is a graduate of the CFA's Youth Advance program, which educates Year 9 and 10 students in the basics of firefighting. He's now ready to step up as a probationary firefighter this season.