District 4 Specialist Response Unit

Over several fire seasons, District 4 in the Glenelg Shire has relied on sourcing equipment from other districts to extinguish local peat and non-structure fires, which required extensive hose lays, deployment of sprinkler systems and/or water injection into heavy burning fuels. 

Significant events include 2003 peat fires, 2006 lava flow/stones fires and multiple woodchip fires in Portland. In the 2015-16 season alone, units from districts 5 and 6 were called upon for over nine weeks while attending the Kaladbro peat fire and a further two weeks at a bark pile fire at Myamyn.

The availability of a specialist equipment response trailer for non-structure fires within the Glenelg Shire district was deemed warranted to provide a local means of a more rapid deployment of specialist equipment (keeping fires smaller), increasing District 4 and South West Region’s capability and was recognised as being essential equipment for the district and region.

The District 4 Specialist Response Unit (SRU) trailer is equipped with specialist equipment to combat numerous non-structure fires such as peat fires, woodchip fires, hay stack fires, silo fires, plantation fires, and inaccessible bushfires.

Some of the equipment housed on the SRU trailer includes 7,500-litre collar tank, quick fill pump, water injection probes, sprinkler heads, percolating hose and specialist plantation firefighting equipment.

Behind this project were a number of companies who provided donations of materials and equipment to ensure the trailer came to fruition. South West Fibre at Myamyn kindly donated funds to buy the 8x5 tandem trailer, BlueScope Distribution Portland donated materials for the custom built trailer canopy built by Portland Fabrications, Heywood CFA Group acquired 20 lengths of percolating hose and a figure 8 hose winder through the Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program grant and CFA provided a quick fill pump.

CFA’s Forestry Industry Brigades Field Officer Ian Hamley managed the project and was instrumental in sourcing materials and some funding to secure this much-needed resource within the Glenelg Shire District.

Author: Ian Hamley