Large January Scrub Fire

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Large January Scrub Fire

Category : Brigade News

At 2:11pm on January 3, Hastings Fire Brigade was paged to a grass fire behind K and K Steel on Frankston-Flinders Road in Hastings; with Tyabb, Somerville, Moorooduc and Bittern also paged in support. From a crew already located at the fire station, the Tanker was quickly dispatched to the scene of the call with the Pumper following shortly afterwards. On arrival crews found several burning piles of rubbish and wood with fire rapidly spreading, driven by strong northerly winds. The fire quickly entered a timber yard located to the south near Reid Parade and Frankston-Flinders Road and took hold amongst all the wood, creating a challenging inferno.

With the fire growing larger a call went out for a grass and scrub fire “not yet under control” across the radio a few minutes into the job, with extra tankers and pumpers requested. Frankston Teleboom and Dandenong Ladder Platform were dispatched to assist at the timber yard, releasing fire crews and appliances from there to tackle a more serious threat. The two aerial appliances worked exceptionally well at that location, fed with a good water supply, they were able to slowly gain the upper hand during the day.

More and more firefighting appliances and crews were called for throughout the job, reaching a total of over 70 CFA vehicles on scene and over 300 fire fighters, with additional support provided by DEPI, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, the State Emergency Service, the Coast Guard and other agencies at this time. Multiple helicopters were involved in the fire fight, with a mixture of air observers and water bombers working across the area.

The fire was held at the timber yard before embers flew across the road and landed in bushland at Warringine Park igniting a new blaze that again rapidly headed south driven by strong winds of up to 90 km per hour. Tankers reached Seaglades Lane in Bittern as the fire emerged from the scrub land and began to menace housing. Multiple spot fires began, some quite close to properties but were rapidly extinguished by the crews that were protecting them. A new defensive line was drawn up at Woolleys Road in order to try and halt the spread of the fire before it was able to threaten housing in Crib Point.

With a thunderstorm approaching from the west a new concern developed with the wind change that would occur, and warnings were sent out to all appliances. The thunderstorm arrived, however no hail or rain occurred, only the strong winds were received which changed to a west-to-south-westerly, driving the fire front eastern wards – towards estates and homes located in Warranqite Crescent in Hastings.

Pumpers rapidly arrived as the blaze reached homes and fire crews undertook a new fight to protect property there, a battle in which fire fighters prevailed in which they went house to house with hose lines, actions that limited damage to fences, yards and in some cases sheds but no houses lost were lost. After the main fire front and threat had passed, crews undertook blacking out operations to make the scene safe so that home owners could return once more.

At 8pm that night the fire was declared under control with it largely having been extinguished. However the work did not stop there, throughout the night and into the evening of the 4th of January more crews were rotating in to continue blacking out and keeping a watch on it, to ensure the fire would not reignite.

Crews that had spent time working on the fire ground were able to rest and enjoy a well earned meal at Hastings Fire Station, which had been set up as a staging ground with catering and welfare checks by Ambulance Victoria paramedics to make sure that all fire fighters were healthy after the extreme conditions of the day. Narre Warren catering had responded and supplied most of the food to emergency service workers.

Hastings Fire Brigade would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all the brigades that came to our assistance that day, with brigades responding from as far away as the Dandenong Ranges area, as well as those on the Peninsula to. We would also like to thank all other agencies for their assistance in our time of need, and numerous individuals and businesses – including KFC, Red Rooster, La Porchetta and K and K Steel in Hastings – who had donated food and other supplies to help feed several hundred hungry fire fighters across two hard days and nights. We are grateful for the support we have received across the community as we worked the hardest we could to protect life and property, and while there were some losses of sheds and fencing, we are pleased to say that there or were no serious injuries and no houses were lost in this fire.

More photos of the day can be found here.