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Setting up Stanley base camp
VEMTC Facilities Manager Martyn Bona was deployed to Tasmania as the logistics unit leader to oversee the establishment of a major north-western base camp.
There were a number of cricket finals underway which put some ovals out of action. Three sites were earmarked but only Stanley had good enough radio communications which also enabled crews to be in regular touch with their families.
“The Stanley Recreation Reserve also has a large hall and a good water supply,” said Martyn. “The winds in Stanley were phenomenal and it was snowing 20 minutes away which made for some pretty harsh conditions.
“We had one day to set it up with 40 support staff and readiness for 200 firefighters that first night, all in individual tents. Six containers were flown to Hobart by the RAAF in a Hercules then came five hours via road. Other freight came on the Spirit of Tasmania and via Toll Logistics.
“The second day 13 containers came by sea from Victoria into Burnie. Sixty South Australian, NSW and Victorian vehicles came off a barge into Burnie
“It was all DELWP base camp gear from bedding through to a mobile kitchen, cool rooms, 24 showers and 24 toilets. The support from the DELWP storespeople was fantastic
“The Melbourne caterer has worked with DELWP for five years. This was their 10th base camp and the food was magic. They were able to cater for up to 1000 meals per sitting if necessary but it was generally 280 meals twice a day plus 280 lunch packs.
“They stayed onsite in tents and used local suppliers including butchers, bakers and milk supply as well as hiring local fridges.
“They also hired a local coffee van to come in on the weekend and help with team morale, and a Hobart musician to entertain the crews every night. They did just that bit extra which I hope really made a difference for the firefighters. The work on the fireground was very difficult but all these little touches made the base camp as comfortable as possible.
“We also used 30 local labourer plus local electricians, plumbers, truck and crane drivers and security and sourced local generators.
“It was a logistics masterclass with a high safety focus maintained throughout.”
There were 300 firefighters on site at the height of the response.