News & Media

Yandoit fire closes out 2012

By: Leith Hillard

Category: Incidents - Bushfire

  9.33 AM 4 January, 2013


Location: District 2 News, District 15 News, District 20 News

Views: 3073

"Vicfire from Mt Tarrengower firetower, I have a smoke sighting that looks to be in the Clydesdale area south south east of Newstead".

"Mt Tarrengower fire tower from Vicfire, we had a burn off tagged around that area a few days ago. Could that smoke be from that same burn?"

"Negative Vicfire from Tarrengower fire tower. Smoke column is coming from a new location."

It's 2:55 pm on the last day of 2012.

Words and Pictures by Christopher Simmins, Newstead Fire Brigade

It's a warm, still and clear day and I am looking forward to this evening's celebrations with my family. Moments later my pager erupts into life: "Alert, grass and scrub fire McPhersons Lane Yandoit".

The fire is in the Newstead brigade area and we have only one tanker in our station. The other Newstead tanker is still doing work at the Metcalfe fire.

A swift turnout by our remaining Newstead crew places us at a rural Yandoit property working alongside the Franklinford tanker. The two tanker crews battle hard in amongst the choking smoke and leaping flames to protect the house on the top of the hill. The owners run around in shorts beating the embers.

We are trying to gain access to a grassfire that has quickly spread across hill and dale and has now moved into the dry, rocky undulating bushland. CFA tankers along with Daylesford DSE units and dozers appear then attack with gusto, chasing fingers of fire that randomly spring up everywhere.

The sky is filled with oily black smoke and the sun is a ball of orange. Moments later five helicopters appear, working and directing from above. Tonnes of water fall as the pilots battle the turbulence while ducking and weaving through the dirty smoke. Load after load is released with precision, eventually halting the growth of the fire.

Tired fire crews drag long lengths of hose over rocky steep ground -  ‘putting in a good edge’ - while others man the pumps filling a constant stream of tankers. 

One hundred and fifty firefighters were needed to control the 65 hectare fire which destroyed two sheds. Investigations into the cause are still continuing .

Last Updated: 05 January 2013