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Seaton captain says…
The days have started to blur together for Seaton Fire Brigade Captain Graeme Lord since they got a 3:00am page to attend an incident out the back of Licola Road several weeks ago.
“The fire came through on Friday and I lost cars, a shed and a caravan and other members of the brigade lost sheds, cattle and fencing.
“We were mopping up and blacking out all weekend. On Monday and Tuesday, strike teams picked up a lot of the slack to give us a break but they were slowly disappearing by the Thursday and Friday. We wouldn’t have got through all the jobs without them.
“By the second week we were still getting about four call-outs a day to fallen trees and smoking trees. The doors of the fire station have been open at all hours.
“We were busy last Saturday night in Cowwarr but then our truck was off the road for a day with a flat tyre. It’s back on today but no calls so far.
“This January 17 fire was the second fire into the township in recent memory. In 2006 it came all the way in but we didn’t lose any houses that time. That fire came from the southwest but this one came from the northwest.
“We have a fairly large brigade area and there are a lot of new houses. Over the last five years we’ve had a lot of retired people move in. It’s a life change to live in the bush. There’s great fishing in Lake Glenmaggie.
“One of the community meetings we’ve held in the last couple of weeks had 91 people so we managed to get a lot of information out to the people who needed it. The shire put on a barbecue which went down well.”
Seaton is a township, not a town, with a community hall and a corrugated iron fire station from 1979 which the brigade has added to over the years.
The brigade has 30 people on the books with 15-18 of them operational. They have one 4WD truck and one brigade-owned quickfill on a trailer. While there aren’t many young people living in Seaton, the brigade has three members under 22.
“We have a variety of professions,” says Graeme. “There are only three fulltime farmers now. I drive VLine trains out of Traralgon and today was my first morning back at work.”
Seaton members are looking towards this week’s hot weather with some concern. “It’s not real good,” says Graeme. “There’s a lot of unburnt land there.
“I’ll try and get home by lunchtime on Wednesday and Thursday. Everyone’s tired. You don’t want to keep using the same people but whoever’s available will turn up.
“If anyone sees any rain, send it our way.”