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Heat is on at Baringhup West
Ten minutes after smoke was spotted from Mt Tarrengower fire tower at 3.02pm, 29 November, strike teams were activated. Control was passed to Epsom ICC in Bendigo by 3.43pm where Operations Officer Chris Eagle was on duty all day.
“The automatic aircraft dispatch system was trialled yesterday,” he says, “with the aircraft responding by pager just as the brigades do. It worked really well and the Helitak arrived a few minutes after the first truck.”
The 2000 litre Helitak 335 was accompanied by the Bird Dog 305 carrying the air attack supervisor and both aircraft remained on scene for several hours. All water dropped came from nearby Cairn Curran Reservoir.
“The highlight of the incident was the way the ground crews worked really well with the Helitak.," continues Chris. "The fire got into some really rocky country so there were a lot of issues with access. We got a couple of graders out there early on courtesy of the shire but trucks were really struggling with the rocks.
“The Helitak bombed the head of the fire and worked containing the flank to keep it out of a canola crop.”
Incident: Baringhup West grass and scrub fire
Date 29 November 2012
Brigades: Baringhup West, Maldon, Woodstock West, Carisbrook, Moolort, Eddington, Dunolly, Bendigo, Junortoun, Talbot, Newstead, Guildford, Fryerstown, Campbells Creek, Elphinstone, Castlemaine, Harcourt, Walmer, Inglewood, Tarnagulla, Rheola, Bridgewater, Murphys Creek
Baringhup West Captain Brendan McKnight lives about six kilometres from the Mt Tarrangower fire tower and was soon on the fireground.
“I was everywhere,” he says. “I was talking to each of the trucks and trying to get a vantage point. Ops Officer Alun Hughson was there. DSE were helping me. DPI came out to take care of the sheep that were injured.
“It might not have been a windy day but the fire was creating its own wind and kept changing direction. There were some extreme conditions. A few more weeks and a bit more drying out and this one would have run all the way to Newstead.”
Two Baringhup West trucks patrolled the fire overnight and chased a few breakaways. The fire burnt about 200 hectares, 200 sheep were killed and some canola and fencing were lost.
Four strike teams turned out across the course of the incident with the one from District 20 arriving just as the fire was contained. Thanks to all members who travelled quite some distance to support local crews.