News & Media

Using Coimadai hose laying trailer

  • Steep terrain
  • Blacking out
  • Burning tree stump
  • Chainsaw action
  • Checking the line
  • Collar tank set up
  • Fill hose trail
  • Hose trailer
  • On the hose

By: Leith Hillard

Category: Vehicles / Equipment / Buildings

  12.01 PM 15 March, 2013

Location: District 2 News, District 14 News

Views: 3948

On Saturday 16 February at 15:30hrs, Bullengarook brigade and other responding brigades were called out to investigate a smoke sighting from the Pyrite Forest.

With assistance from the Bullengarook ultralight tanker and Firebird, the extent of the fire was pinpointed. Access was eventually found via Haires Road and through private property. With the vehicles driven as close together as possible, the brigade was faced with a 600 metre trek through some very steep terrain.

At this stage, a Helitak water bomber was called in by the incident controller to gain some control over the fire.

Story and photos from Rob Lewis

Date: 16 February 2013

Incident: Bullengarook Pyrite Forest Fire.

District : 2

Brigades: Bullengarook, Gisborne, Macedon, Coimadai, Toolern Vale, Newham,

Riddles Creek. Helitak and Firebird

 Date 17 February 2113

Brigades: Bullengarook, Coimadai hose laying trailer

As the fire was in a DSE controlled area, the Bullengarook CFA crew and two Gisborne members went in and assisted DSE. Tankers from other brigades were subsequently released from Bullengarook Control.

A rakehoe containment line was quickly established around the site. At 21:30 hrs, the Bullengarook/Gisborne members left with a DSE crew remaining overnight. As high winds were expected on the following days, it was essential to declare the fireground safe as quickly as possible.

Early the next morning, Coimadai brought their hose laying trailer along with a three-person crew, including First Lieutenant Gerry Lavery who is an expert in setting up this unit.

The trailer includes a 12,000 litre collar tank, two high pressure pumps and numerous size hoses. The inlet of the pump is connected by a short length of 90mm hose directly to the collar tank. A 38mm hose line is used as the main supply line to the fire ground from the pump.

At various points along this supply line three-way gated valves are installed so attack hoses of 19mm and 25mm in 20 metre lengths are used to fight the fire. At this fire, a total of 22 lengths of 38mm hose were used to transport water to the fire scene.

After setting up the collar tank which was fed water from the Bullengarook tankers, members started their trek towards the fireground. Each member carried a length of hose which was laid out and joined to the main feeder hose as they went. All hoses begin rolled in a figure eight configuration to allow members to pull one end and walk on. Rolling out hoses is not an option in this type of terrain.

Throughout this incident, the collar tank operator was in constant contact with the DSE incident controller to maintain the required pressure. Without this water supply, the fire would have taken several days to be made safe.

This was the first time Bullengarook brigade had worked with the hose laying trailer on a real fire and it was quite a learning experience.

The fireground was declared safe at 16:00hrs that Sunday.

Bullengarook Captain Phil Challis was impressed with the effort and teamwork from the brigades and DSE members. They were operating under extremely hot conditions and in terrain that a mountain goat would be happy in. A lot of water was drunk that day.

DSE Incident Controller Mark Pinney was very appreciative of the close CFA support they received and the contribution the Coimadai hose laying trailer had made.

The total area burnt was limited to 1.5 hectares in steep terrain. It was determined later that the fire was started by a lightning strike.

Last Updated: 15 March 2013