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Mighty Bright firefight
Looking over our records, Bright Fire Brigade has had a huge season. In 2013, Bright has responded to 28 callouts up until the end of February and 37 callouts total for summer.
Story by Sheridan Gillham, Brigade secretary
Lightning strikes have been a major factor for us and the cause of the Harrietville and Hotham fire. There have been times when we have responded to one job and had the pager go off to attend another two jobs. This does not include strike teams or taskforces that were sent to Jerilderie in NSW, Corryong and, of course, the Harrietville/Hotham fire.
This fire used a lot of our resources for a long period of time which in turn placed pressure on brigade members back home to ensure we had crews to attend callouts. Not once were we unable to turn out or fill a strike team for the event. We even had members in the ICC at Ovens. It’s a true indicator of the commitment of our members which I am proud of.
With our slip-on and tanker busy with that major fire, we had the region spare tanker in station. We even had the Hotham/Dinner Plain tanker on loan early in the fire season when ours was in Jerilderie.
One of the fire season highlights was meeting our Chief Officer, Euan Ferguson in the early days of the Harrietville fire. It was terrific to meet him on the fireground and see the interest he took in our region, ourselves and the fire.
As the Harrietville fire moved west, the decision was made to move the staging area from Harrietville Fire Station to Bright Fire Station. A first aid tent, air, compressor, two cool rooms, ice truck and a portable communications hut was soon set up with the quiet station becoming very busy.
It is great to see the comradeship between brigades and crews. We have worked alongside crews from other brigades as well as DSE, HVP, NSW Rural Fire Service and New Zealand crews.
On 26 and 27 February, just over a month since the fire started, Bright received 64mm of rain. I believe there was much more at Hotham and I heard 140mm was recorded in the hills. While this brought the fire under control, it has created other problems. Trees continue to fall down, many of them mountain ash that did not survive the 2003 fires. The rivers and creeks are dirty and Bright and Harrietville have had to cart water from out of town to meet water demands.
There is still a lot of work to be done to get the Great Alpine Road opened with landslips and reports of half the road washed away. The ABC reported the Great Alpine Road will be opened for the long weekend between 7am and 7pm.
The local businesses would love to see as many people as possible as they have been doing it tough. So why not come up and say hello to this very special part of Victoria, one of the most fire prone areas in the world.