CFS News March 2018

Your Cherry Gardens brigade was busy during the recent storm where dry lightning combined with dry vegetation sparked several fires across the district. The first alert came through just after midnight when lightning struck a tree along Cherry Gardens Road. It was burning well by the time the brigade arrived but we were able to quickly douse it with water and foam. In these situations it’s essential that we ensure the fire is completely extinguished before we leave the scene.

Nobody wants to be called back to fight the same fire twice!

This meant we had to methodically hose down not just the affected area but any unburned wood or grass surrounding it, making sure the water penetrated into every nook and cranny. By the time we’d finished it was getting past 1 a.m. and everyone was keen to get back to bed.

Unfortunately most of us had only just made it back home when our pagers went off again. This time someone on Frith Road had reported seeing a fire burning in the distance. Before long Cherry Gardens brigade was joined by Clarendon and a Sturt Group car as we drove along dark fire tracks trying to locate the fire, which proved to be elusive. Several people sighted it from different locations but it was a difficult task to narrow it down to a grid reference. Finally we reached a road near Mount Bold Reservoir and saw one side of the hill well ablaze.

Unlike the previous incident on Cherry Gardens Road this fire had had time to spread, and to compound the issue it was burning deep inside old hollow trees. As we unrolled our hoses and went to work we had to be doubly aware of the risk of falling branches, an ever present danger on the fire ground. For the past few months Cherry Gardens brigade has been training hard in preparation for the fire season, and it was good to see our training pay off, particularly in our hose handling techniques which were well tested in the difficult terrain. The Sturt Group Tanker also proved invaluable in restocking our dwindling water supplies as the night went on.

It was nearly 7 a.m. before most of the Cherry Gardens crews left the fire ground. A long but satisfying night!