At the time of writing, the rains have now arrived in Cherry Gardens and the long dry start to the year is behind us. Take extra care on the roads during winter, adapting your driving to the wet conditions is very important due to less visibility, requiring extra stopping distances due to wet roads and dark overcast nights. Are your tyres and windscreen wiper blades up to winter conditions?
Just prior to ANZAC day, we were called to perhaps the biggest event in the area for many years, as shown in the aerial photo. A fire broke out to the north of the western end of Cherry Gardens Road, and both Cherry Gardens 34 and Ironbank 24 were responded immediately as well as the Cherry Gardens radio base becoming active. As the first arriving appliance, Cherry Gardens 34 assumed the role of incident control, and it was quickly realized more firefighting support was needed. The incident was escalated to level two and shortly after to level three, with air support called in. In all, CFS brigades from Bradbury, Clarendon, Coromandel Valley, Eden Hills, Happy Valley and Ironbank assisted both Cherry Gardens appliances and the Sturt Group bulk water carrier (which is based at the Cherry Gardens station). Two aerial drops were carried out, but the close proximity of high-tension power lines above the fire ground limited the water bomber operations. With the combined efforts of all these brigades, the fire was controlled, extinguished and the area made safe within two hours. As other crews were released from the fire ground, the Cherry Gardens appliances spent the rest of the day “blacking out” and dealing with any hot spots. Further patrols were conducted over the next two days to ensure there would be no chance of a re-ignition. All in all a great team effort with a good outcome.
During de-briefs after this event we discussed any learnings. Please be aware of access to properties for the appliances – overhanging tree branches, gates not wide enough etc. We are able to negotiate most things, but it does slow down arrival times on scene. Please do not block road / driveway access with vehicles sightseeing and if possible, someone directing the appliances to the scene is always helpful if you are sure of the best access. The first appliance to arrive needs to quickly assess the situation, so any local input (fence lines, gates, and water sources) will help speed up the firefighting process.