ST1431: the last heavy ST to go to Tasmania

Strike team ST1431, was the last heavy strike team to be deployed to the Tasmanian Fires between 28 February and 3 March 2016.

Transport to Wynyard/Burnie

2 Saab 340 Aircraft Corporate Air, Essendon to Burnie/Wynyard

In Tassie, on a battered chartered buses to Base Camp Stanley.


Great. I didn't hear one complaint about the food.


North coast Tasmanian weather: 23 degrees, drizzle and strong winds.

West coast weather (fireground): 26 degrees, no rain, dry and relatively calm.

Frankland Sector: Blackwater Road, Frankland Road, Wuthering Heights.

Distance to fireground: 70km, approximately 65 minutes.

Tasked with blacking out along the road edge one hose length from the trucks in preparation for the roads to be opened.


  • Trees falling, dropping branches
  • Peat smouldering underground therefore care to be taken where we stepped to avoid falling into a red hot cavity
  • Working with and around heavy excavators
  • European wasps
  • To a lesser extent, bees
  • March flies
  • Snakes.

Heavy Tankers from South Morang, Point Cook, Hurstbridge, Sunbury and Yarrambat with Melton FCV.

Composite crewed from D13, D14, D15, D16 and D17.

Working with ST-1301 ultra-lights.

It’s a credit to the CFA training regime and the individual brigades that their crews were able to integrate and work on tankers they had never seen before. Plus, of course, they were very well led by their crew leaders.

On the second night, we were moved from tent city at Stanley to Riverbend Christian Camp because of the inclement weather.

Three firefighters suffered severe migraines, and two of them went to the Smithton Hospital. One firefighter fell backwards but seemed to be relatively unhurt. Another suffered steam burns over the top of his gloves. I completed five salmon cards.

I would like to express my appreciation to the CIS peers who helped us immensely with the welfare of all the ST members but particularly with the firefighters who were not so well. The peers' dedication certainly impressed me.

The strike team shared two crayfish given to us by happy Tamanians.

During the final bus trip from Riverbend Camp to Stanley at 7am on 3 March the bus broke down. I didn't fill in a salmon card for it!

From Stanley we convoyed our tankers, ultra-lights, and FCVs back to Bernie for the DMO to go over them and in due course send them back to Victoria.

Then we went to Burnie Airport to board our chartered Saab 340s back to Tullamarine.

All in all, it was a very worthwhile deployment and our strike team did a lot of good work.

ST Leader Michael Chapman

Arthurs Creek Fire Brigade D14

Author: Michael Chapman