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  • Spare a thought...

    In my non-Coffee-Snob life, I'm a CFS (SA Country Fire Service) officer. I took a crew up to the big (big for SA) fire just west of the Barossa valley yesterday.

    This area has been so utterly devastated by the fire. It is wheat cropping country, and the fire was essentially a crop fire. Which isn't normally a big deal. But it has nuked 87,500Ha to the ground. Lots of farms completely destroyed. It is one of the saddest firegrounds I've been to in over 20 years of being a volunteer firefighter. I really feel so sorry for those poor sods. You can google 'Pinery Fire' and see quite a few images of the thing, but be warned there are images of burnt sheep that some might find distressing.

    To those who are fire service vollies - this fire is now the world record holder for forward rate of spread. A shade over 83km/hr. That's incredible. And terrifying. When the wind change occurred, it doubled in size in about 120 minutes...

    To those CFA and RFS strike teams that came over yesterday: Thanks. Much appreciated. The shear effort involved in securing the perimeter and dealing with the internal hot spots is going to be a darn long slog. Our appliance and other 4 in our strike team took 12 hours to secure about 1.5km of the North West corner. Physically hard, dirty slog... The perimeter at the moment is around 265+km...

    /Kevin

  • #2
    Thank you KJM to you and all the other volunteers who put their lives on the line to protect others. As ex-farmers we know how much the harvest means to folks. To see the devastation of this area in the last few days has saddened us. We spent our times in the 60's driving and travelling on The Bluebird train through these areas when we lived in Adelaide. It is hard to comprehend what has happened in such a short time but it is true. Bless you and bless all those folks who now have to face the future with in some instances having nothing to start with.

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    • #3
      I can't imagine what fighting a fire in those conditions would be like. Our thoughts are with all of you down there.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by herbie View Post
        Thank you KJM to you and all the other volunteers who put their lives on the line to protect others. As ex-farmers we know how much the harvest means to folks. To see the devastation of this area in the last few days has saddened us. We spent our times in the 60's driving and travelling on The Bluebird train through these areas when we lived in Adelaide. It is hard to comprehend what has happened in such a short time but it is true. Bless you and bless all those folks who now have to face the future with in some instances having nothing to start with.
        I have to be slightly careful with information I post, I have access to stuff not publicly available.. But since some of this has been on the news.. One of the most distressing things (apart from the human things..) was the burned sheep.. The local guys who had done the overnight firefighting went from that to shooting distressed sheep. Currently that count is 27,000 animals.... Those guys are doing it SO hard...

        /Kevin

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        • #5
          My hat is off to all those Firefighters - the professionals and the skilled men of the Rural Fire Brigade as well.
          The Police should also be mentioned as they are also out there trying to save lives.
          They are all very brave people. I could not see myself out there doing what they do.
          We seem to be having more of these 'fire events' and it is a frightening prospect for those who live in or close to the bush.
          I live on the lower slopes of the mountains and it is very disconcerting when you see the firefront coming over the ridge and you are wondering how much wind is behind it.

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          • #6
            You and the victims have my sympathy and admiration. I used to do the volunteer stuff (ex farm boy): 83Kmh spread is dead set scary - if 40Kmh jumps 30+ metres I cannot imagine trying to cope with that speed. The stock losses means the area will take years to recover economically and a lot of the homesteads are gone as well.

            My fellow coffee fiend here is a current firie - we have had a few bad ones here in West Oz (with deaths) this year as well. This is her first weekend off in the last 6 weeks, and even the support sticks under her eyelids are breaking under the strain. You guys must also be utterly stuffed...

            Hope the needed support is forthcoming.

            TampIt

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            • #7
              Just to round this out.. The 'recovery' process is well underway. The local brigades in the area are still going out to calls for burning trees though. The last day we were on the fireground we were dealing with burning trees on the sides of the roads. Those things burn slowly underground along roots and pop up days/weeks later. The support from the community for the poor souls who have lost everything has been very Australian - totally overwhelmed the local agencies The area was Australia's highest yielding wheat spot (measured per unit area rept). It'll not be so for many years to come..

              @Tampit - 83km/hr is utterly terrifying. I would hope to not be on the receiving end of that. The local crews were absolutely shell shocked. We were watching the WA fires with some level of dread, I have to say, because what you guys experience we tend to get 1 or 2 days later...
              @Rocky - It'd be 98-99% of Australia is protected by volunteer fire fighters. Only big urban areas tend to have paid full-time firefighters. The vollies are all trained. We are just average Joe's (and Janes!) who do it to help the community. Bravery ought not come into it. When I take a crew out, my sole job is to get them there and back safely. While there is a heightened risk to life while standing in front of a raging inferno, that risk is supposed to be managed Having said that, there have been times when things have not exactly gone to plan...

              /Kevin

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