View Full Version : Almost bought the Farm today - Oz Bushfires

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Buster Hyman
7th Feb 2009, 11:51
We are being savaged by Bushfires (http://www.theage.com.au/national/death-toll-may-reach-more-than-40-police-20090207-80ao.html?page=-1)here. 14 dead, over 100 homes lost, God knows how many animals.

All in all, a pretty intense day.

(Excuse me if this is a little self indulgent, but it's quite therapeutic for me):(

Lon More
7th Feb 2009, 11:55
Large beer for Buster :ok::ok:

7th Feb 2009, 11:56
Buster, having been evacuated from our urbanisation in Spain a few years ago and watched fire sweep thru from one end to the other, I sympathise greatly with you. There's nothing worse than seeing the sunlight turn golden and the shadows turn deep blue and knowing a fire is coming towards you. We were lucky - Spanish houses constructed of stone don't burn and we had both Spanish and French aircraft bombing the fire - nine planes and choppers altogether - plus a thousand men on the ground, we survived with little damage. So best regards to you mate, all of us living in hot countries been there, done it, just hope we get away with it when it comes. Keep fingers crossed for you that you get some rain.


7th Feb 2009, 11:57
If that's self indulgence, Buster, please continue. Keep us close to what's going on. One of the benefits of t'interweb - makes us neighbours.

And keep safe.

unstable load
7th Feb 2009, 12:05
Best of luck, Buster! I'v been up against a bush fire across the street from my house and it's scary stuff!

Take care out there!

tony draper
7th Feb 2009, 12:14
Yer puts our bleating about inconvenience caused by a bit snow into perspective,watch ter arse Mr H.

DX Wombat
7th Feb 2009, 12:17
Large beer for Buster I think you deserve several. Take care and keep safe.

Buster Hyman
7th Feb 2009, 12:19
Cheers all.:ok:

Got to spend some time writing it all up now.:ugh:...at least I can.:p

7th Feb 2009, 12:29
Respect. All CFA (Victorian Country Fire Authority = volunteer bush fire fire fighters) who go out and fight fires in those conditions are tough resourceful and truely risk their lives for their community.
Others may not know but we have had a day of 46.3 Centigrade, 35 to 45 knot winds (and higher in bushfires) and fires in dense Eucalyptus forrests (Eucalyptus oil = burns almost explosively once a big fire gets going). In the dense forrests with those conditions firefront travels at great speed (? 60mph+) and sounds like an express train coming at you as it approaches over the hills. Nothing on God's earth can stop it. It will also go even faster by spotting in front (bits of burning stuff carried by the wind and in those temperatures when it lands the forest just erupts). It is hard to describe the conditions. Into that go CFA Volunteers, and sensibly dressing in heavy fire gear and then do heavy physical work - hard, dangerous and impressive.
Once again, Buster et al, RESPECT


Conan The Barber
7th Feb 2009, 12:33
I believe everyone should have an experience like that at least once in their life. It makes you think about what is important and what is not. It focuses the mind and makes you a better person, for a while at least.

I have no doubt that today Buster is a better man than what he was yesterday.

Buster Hyman
7th Feb 2009, 13:08
John, not wrong about the Freight train. I couldn't hear the PA right next to me & there was constant chatter. We were lucky, no doubt about it.:(

Well Conan, I lost count of the "Hail Mary's" mate!!! Gotta count for something! Strange...when we were right amongst it, that was the first & only thing that came into my mind....:confused: Mentally, I feel fine, and have done so since it happened. I'm very wary of delayed shock & the missus is keeping an eye on me just in case I go "a sandwhich short of a picnic!"

John Eacott
7th Feb 2009, 14:00

Where are you: Yarra Valley way? Awful stuff, you have all my sympathy for your long and arduous day :( Listening to 3LO at 1am, they're still calling urgent info for imminent ember attacks for so many areas, yet we (at Macedon) are getting heavy showers of rain.

Quite a tragic day, 14 confirmed dead, with expectations of 40+ come daylight when further checks can be made :sad:

7th Feb 2009, 14:04
BH, a large lager or two for you.

On my tab.

Buster Hyman
7th Feb 2009, 14:16
Not far from you John E. Enjoy that rain mate.:ok:

Cheers Brick. :}

Roger Sofarover
7th Feb 2009, 14:28

Stay safe, everyone in those conditions is living right on the edge. I cannot tell from what you have written in your last post, but did your colleague get out in the end:( I hope so.

7th Feb 2009, 14:33
Haven't checked in for months, Buster, but serendipitously here I am tonight. Wars of words over politics or anything else are reduced to nothingness when the family safety is at issue. My best to you and your family. Hope everything turns out ok.


7th Feb 2009, 14:46
Show them flames who da man. WHO DA MAN BUSTER!?

Keep up the good work guys...

Diesel Fitter
7th Feb 2009, 15:13
Sincere best wishes Buster - scary stuff

7th Feb 2009, 15:59
BZ Buster, stay safe Mate.:ok:

7th Feb 2009, 17:44
Stay safe, Buster.

7th Feb 2009, 17:52
I have never experienced fires in OZ, but had one once that came to within 350m of the back door when I lived in Italy. I had been out for the evening and returned home to find the blooming mountain on fire. At that point it was about one kilometre from the house. An hour later the police were banging on the door asking for as much help as any residents could give.Residents out with hose pipes and saws to try and make fire-breaks. We were all praying for the dawn so that the fire fighting choppers could start work. Luckily it was summer, so they could start early. Nobody was injured and no property was set on fire, but it was blöödy scary all the same.

Stay safe Buster. I would not want your job for all the tea in China, I am too much of a coward.

Lon More
7th Feb 2009, 17:52
Un-fecking-believable (http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/incidents/incident_summary.htm). Some idiots are still calling in false alarms. Should be dumped in the middle of the biggest conflagration.

Stay safe Buster and all.

7th Feb 2009, 18:07
The only time I have ever been near a strong wind of any kind was a tail feather of a hurricane in Florida many years ago and to my Brit ears the sound of the wind, just like a fast-approaching train, was scary. To think that such a wind could be combined with fire must be terrifying to say the least - especially, perhaps, if water resources are not unlimited.

Have to say Buster that you and your fellow firefighters are to be counted among the bravest and the best.

Good luck and, as others are saying, stay safe mate :ok:

7th Feb 2009, 18:25
Glad you checked in Buster i thought about you when i read the paper today. You guys are special people and i am not sure if the Brits realise that you are volunteers. Good luck to you and i hope you get on top of these fires soon.
I will be back in Melbourne sometime this year and would consider it a privilege if i could buy you a beer or three if you have time..

7th Feb 2009, 18:27
Best of luck.


7th Feb 2009, 18:34
Buster, well feckin done sport, just got a wizzer from chums incountry NSW with news of your fires. Nothing I can say can explain the admiration I have for you folks:ok:

7th Feb 2009, 18:38
Buster, therapeuse away man. As much as you want.
If posting on our dearly despised JB makes it even a little easier for you to get the horrific experience in perspective, that is an honour.
Please keep writing.

Good to hear your missus is keeping an eagle eye on you; she will recognise any symptoms of post traumatic stress before you do. And will no doubt make sure you deal with them in the manner that is best for you.
Us wives are good at that kind of nagging care. ;)

Well done mate, major respect!

Loose rivets
7th Feb 2009, 19:32
Keep us updated!!!!!

I will never forget the report about a group of firefighters in CA donning their foil bags...like sleeping bags. They were surrounded on a hill and it was a last-ditch measure to survive. The bags gave them the time needed for the Chopper to lift them out. That aircraft was damaged by fire getting to them!

Other gran to my grandchildren hails from there...she sat here wondering if her house was still there. Lives are of course infinitely more important, but people's homes somehow encapsulate their lives, and the loss of a home has deep and long lasting effects.

7th Feb 2009, 19:50
Buster, therapeuse away man. As much as you want.

Well done mate, major respect!

Too right!

7th Feb 2009, 20:02
Buster...ever since my own house fire, I've grown a deeper respect for what you brave folks do. Placing yourself in harms way and the sacrifice put forth from your families to understand, "this is what you do"....

Stay safe. I'm praying for all of you.

barry lloyd
7th Feb 2009, 20:15

No apologies necessary. Be as self-indulgent as you like.
My dad was a fireman (as we called them those days), and I know he and his crew risked their lives on several occasions, (Empress of Canada, Hendersons store etc.), so please accept my best wishes, even though I'm a LIVERPOOL supporter:)
Anyway, the BLUES won (again:E) today.

7th Feb 2009, 20:21
From At least 14 dead in Victoria bushfires (http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=744638)
Fourteen people have been killed in the savage bushfires which set Victoria ablaze on Saturday.
Victoria police confirmed the deaths on Saturday night and said they fear the figure may reach into the 40s.
Deputy police commissioner Kieran Walshe said all the deaths were in a massive blaze northwest of Melbourne - six at Kinglake, four at nearby Wandong, three at Strathewen and one in Clonbinane.
Mr Walshe said he believed the Kinglake victims were all in the same car.
He believed arsonists were responsible for some of the nine major fires ripping across the state.
"We suspect a number of the fires have been deliberately lit," Mr Walshe told reporters.
"This is an absolute tragedy for the state and we believe the figure may even get worse," Mr Walshe said.
"We base that on the fact we're only just getting into these areas now ... to search buildings and properties these have been very very significant fires ... the figure could get into the 40s."
The fire started in East Kilmore, 80km north of Melbourne, and covered a huge area as it pushed 30km east to Kinglake, through the small townships of Wandong, Strathewen and Clonbinane.
Mr Walshe said he could not determine whether the victims were civilians or firefighters. He said identifications could not be carried out until at least Sunday.
Kinglake resident Peter Mitchell said the town had no time to act as the fire raced through.
"The whole township is pretty much on fire," Peter Mitchell told ABC Radio.
"There was no time to do anything ... it came through in minutes.
"There'll be a massive loss of houses ... there'll be a lot of us homeless.
"All those who have made it into town will be fine. The others will be sheltering and working on their fire plans, God help them."
Mr Mitchell said he was with around 200 residents holed up in the local pub and that no fire trucks could get into the town.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) said at least 100 homes have been destroyed as nine major blazes burnt out of control across Victoria in the worst fire conditions in the state's history.
The Ash Wednesday fires in February, 1983 claimed 47 lives in Victoria and 28 in South Australia and remain the deadliest bushfire in Australian history.
More than 100 fires which started on February 16, 1983, destroyed 2,800 homes in Victoria and burnt out 210,000 hectares, while 383 homes went up in South Australia.
The Kilmore fire started at 11.49am (AEDT) and quickly spread to neighbouring towns.
But with the cool change which swept across the state late Saturday afternoon came a shift in direction of the wind which then sent the fire eastwards towards Whittlesea and the sub alpine communities of Kinglake, Healesville and Warburton.
It grew alarmingly from a 4,000 hectare blaze to one covering 30,000 hectares in just a few hours.
Five hundred firefighters on 100 trucks were battling the inferno which was threatening to push even further into the town of Broadford which was warned to be on high alert on Saturday night.
Water bombing aircraft will resume operations at first light on Sunday.
Ambulance Victoria said it had airlifted a young girl with burns from Whittlesea to Royal Melbourne Hospital and had set up casualty centres at Whittlesea and Kinglake to deal with mounting injuries.
More than 3,000 firefighters and many more residents battled other major fronts at Horsham, Coleraine, Weerite, Bunyip, Churchill, Dargo, Murrindindi and Redesdale in all corners of the scorched state as the searing heat in the mid-40s and high winds exceeded authorities' dire fears.
Several areas of Gippsland in the east were on high alert as an uneasy dusk fell on Saturday night, while the Horsham fire was downgraded early in the evening.
Fifty houses were reportedly lost in the Bendigo area in the Redesdale blaze.
The cool change early Saturday evening was expected to create more volatile conditions.
"It hasn't helped the firefighters, only presented them with new fronts," a CFA spokeswoman said.
The CFA and DSE (Department of Sustainability and Environment) warned Victorians to prepare to be hit by fire late on Saturday night and to be especially prepared for ember attack.
La Trobe Valley power stations were under threat as a fire on the eastern fringes of the Strzelecki Ranges spread toward the Gippsland coast, threatening towns such as Yarram, Langsbrough and Manns Beach.
"It is pretty well every part of the state except the far northwest," CFA Deputy Chief Fire Officer John Haynes said.
"The fire weather ... was extreme and off the scale."
The Horsham fire burnt 5,700 hectares and claimed at least three homes, the town's golf club and several sheds, while the Bunyip State Park fire reached 2,400 hectares and destroyed some houses in the town of Labertouche.
Victoria Premier John Brumby said one fire threatening his parents' home in Coleraine was stopped literally on their doorstep.
"I would like to thank DSE, CFA and SES (State Emergency Services) fire fighters and volunteers who have fought tirelessly throughout the day to protect Victorian people and property," Mr Brumby said.
One man, aged in his 40s, is in critical condition after suffering burns to 50 per cent of his body when he tried to move stock in Coleraine area.

My thoughts are with any Prooners affected.,and I find it incredible to think that people deliberately light fires on a day when the temperature in Melbourne reached 46 degrees. Incredible,

7th Feb 2009, 20:49
Buster - deep respect to you and all those countless others who put their lives on the line in conditions like this. Watching Sky news now with the footage of a fire absolutely tearing up a hillside - unbelievably scary and I'd just want to get the hell out of there - and you guys are the ones heading towards it...:eek:

Looks like it might be NSWs turn today - stay safe everyone.

7th Feb 2009, 20:57
Strewth Buster! Take care matey.
Mrs tins rellos in the area.:uhoh:

Buster Hyman
7th Feb 2009, 23:12
Binos...we rise above it mate.:ok:

Roger...I've not heard about him yet. Once we get into trouble like that, and get out, they pretty much finish us for the day. I'll let you know if I hear.

S'Land...The blokes were doing the same as you with garden hoses. If you're in that position again, tell the copper to stick it up his arse and bolt!!!!

From here (http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25024010-661,00.html):

Richard Hoyle, a firefighter from Ballarat, was battling the Kinglake blaze since 5pm yesterday and told the Herald Sun it was the worst fire he had seen in eight years on the job.

He said he had passed at least two dozen burnt-out cars that had been involved in multiple collisions or had been abandoned on the Whittlesea-Kinglake Rd.

He described the scene as "a holocaust".

"The road is riddled with burnt-out cars involved in multiple collisions and debris," Mr Hoyle said.

I have a sneaking feeling that these were the cars around us, because we were on that road & there were lots of cars hanging around us.:( We passed the Ballarat guys as we headed home, tails between our legs...

For those interested, I managed to get a few snaps & video of yesterday here (http://s494.photobucket.com/albums/rr301/BiggyRat/). Sorry about the quality. The video with the fire is where we pulled up initially and, as you can see, it was relatively benign. (On Google Earth, it was at 37 29'7.99" S 145 11'26.60" E)

Once again, my thanks to you all for your kind words & support. Even though you are all prety much anonymous, it just felt right to post my thoughts & experiences here. Funny that, eh?;)

7th Feb 2009, 23:30
Wikimapia - Let's describe the whole world! (http://wikimapia.org/#lat=-37.4855528&lon=145.1907222&z=13&l=0&m=h&v=2)

Howard Hughes
7th Feb 2009, 23:38
Glad to hear that you are OK Buster!:ok:

That's tough country for fighting fires...:eek:

7th Feb 2009, 23:50
Glad to hear you're safe. Take care of yourselves down there buddy.

DX Wombat
7th Feb 2009, 23:52
as we headed home, tails between our legs...
Buster, from what you have described on here and the very little I have seen of bushfires in Oz, you should NOT have had your tails between your legs, but rather your heads held high. You are doing an extremely dangerous job which I could never contemplate doing. I'm sure everyone here would agree that you can be very proud of what you are doing. You have my greatest respect.

Rwy in Sight
8th Feb 2009, 00:17

All the best for the day it just began and those they follow. My thoughts are with all those people that risk their life to save others against one of the most extreme danger.

Rwy in Sight

8th Feb 2009, 00:20
Have you tried the whitemans rain dance ?
Wash your car it usually rains the next day :}

8th Feb 2009, 00:43
"tail between the legs"

Well, "he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day". And we'd much rather have you alive than dead, Buster.

8th Feb 2009, 02:43
Drove from Avalon, (Victoria) back home to Drouin, in Gippsland, yesterday.
Temp was 46C in Avalon, rising to 48/49 as I got closer to Melbourne, on top of the WestGate bridge it was 51C reducing to 48/49 as I drove East. Had to do a huge detour due to the fires. Greatest respect for the CFA, Buster and the guys and gals like him.

Brian Abraham
8th Feb 2009, 02:58
Latest count is 35 dead. Have a house filled with precious belongings of others in harms way. Visibility 3,900 metres in smoke, soot coming in under the doors and all roads in/out of town cut. We are not in danger ourselves.

8th Feb 2009, 03:03
I lived through the fires that came through southern Sydney in 98, through Bangor and Bonnet bay. scary stuff!

I have the greatest respect for all firefighters out there, and in times like these we cant thank them enough..

We need more of these guys here in the eastern states! not just WA
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/L-o5ct0zZrc&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/L-o5ct0zZrc&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
it gets especially interesting and hair raising at 2 mins and 3min mark

8th Feb 2009, 04:09
I'm up here in Sydney. - Just heard on the news that they've arrested someone for arson in your corner of the country They deserve the worst the law can throw at them - especially as there are people like you who put themselves in the way to help out the rest of the community.

8th Feb 2009, 04:23

Not Victoria, But NSW C/Coast 1 Jan 2006. Another day over 40C. This as close as it came to my place, and thank god for the Erikson Skycranes.

Buster you & your mates are the true heros. Thoughts & prayers with you......

Just heard on the news that some scrote is re-lighting the fires after the CFA crews have left.......... God spare me

8th Feb 2009, 06:54
This is serious - death toll now over 50 and more expected. Don't know how many hurt but must be in the 100s.

It is a real tragedy like we have not seen in many years. Surpasses the Ash Weds fires in 1983 (I think in 83).

Can't help but keep sniffing the air to see whether a fire burning at Tumut to the west of Canberra is getting any closer.


8th Feb 2009, 07:05
ABC News now confirms 65 dead.

Where will it end.

8th Feb 2009, 07:56
Why doesn't the Fed Govt purchase a fleet of CL415s ? Or even some 2nd hand CL215s ?

8th Feb 2009, 08:10
I hope you dont have to go back in Buster, but remember to put on your woolen undies if you do. Dont want melted nylons under you orange overybags.

There has been a bit of water bomber action over in the west the last coupla days. There are xome clowns lighting fires here as well.:ugh::ugh::ugh:

8th Feb 2009, 08:21
Don't know what to say really,shocked,disbelief are the only words.
Devasted but thankfull that there are heroes like Buster out there that put there lives on the line to save others.
Angry to think that some of the fires are thought to have been deliberately lit,geez I'd like to catch the b*****ds that lit them.
Thank you ,Buster,so glad you are safe.take care mate.

Brian Abraham
8th Feb 2009, 08:37
An arsonist has been caught and news item said murder charges are in the offing. Any suggestions on penalty?

8th Feb 2009, 08:41
Pegging-out in a bush-fire for immolation.

Roger Sofarover
8th Feb 2009, 08:47
I think the same laws should be invoked as those for looting during a time of National Crisis, the Police and Army should have a shoot to kill policy for anyone discovered committing arson.

As the courts cannot issue the death penalty, then the punishment should be Life in prison' with no opportunity for parole or release. I do not think they would last long as even the most hardened Oz criminals would see this as just as much an affront to them and their country as those who murder children. I guess the lawer of those caught will start arguing 'unsound mind' as a defence.

Rwy in Sight
8th Feb 2009, 09:24
CLs (either 215 or even 415) have little to none effect when they are not intergrated on an effective fire prevention and fast responce system. There are many, more effective systems before the CL are added to the system (decent fire retarding zones, as little as dead leafs and other flamable materiel in the forest etc).

8th Feb 2009, 09:53
Good points RIS, but the Greenies wont allow controlled burns to remove the loose fuel. Some forests havent had a burn off for twenty years or so. Cant have the polution, and you may hurt a few animals.:ugh::ugh::ugh:

John Eacott
8th Feb 2009, 10:25
Good points RIS, but the Greenies wont allow controlled burns to remove the loose fuel. Some forests havent had a burn off for twenty years or so. Cant have the polution, and you may hurt a few animals

Not in Victoria. DSE and CFA have both copped a hiding in recent years over lack of FRB's during "non fire" season, and have made concerted efforts to carry out as many fuel reduction burns as can be done within some (overly) tight parameters.

They still get the usual whingers faffing on about the smoke, or the local fauna under threat, and at the other extreme the cockies who can't understand the limits imposed by complying with weather criteria before a FRB commences. But they are working on getting the fuel load down as much as possible.

However, an Extreme Fire Weather day with temps >46C (>115F!!!!), RH <5%, plus hot, dry, gusting 40-50kt northerly winds is a recipe for a disaster, and that's just what we got :(


Your photo (Gosford?) was a day when I was flying my BK117 on fires in the Sydney area: strange how it's only the Aircranes that manage to get noticed these days :hmm:

8th Feb 2009, 11:14
Buster. My first post. Good luck and keep up the good work and take care! I was in the 2003 Canberra fires and that was scary. You blokes seem to have it even tougher!

Richard Taylor
8th Feb 2009, 11:25
Thoughts to all in Oz at the moment.

Was going to suggest you throw these arsonists on the fires, but perhaps better throw them to the Great Whites.

Sounds unimaginable what's going on.

Roger Sofarover
8th Feb 2009, 12:24
BBC are now reporting at least 84 dead:(

8th Feb 2009, 12:45
Buster.... fark!

Can't imagine the courage and dedication it takes to do a job like that! Stay safe!

As for the f#####g s#####s who are starting fires, I think murder charges are an absolute minimum.

Of course the best way would be to put them in a small room with half a dozen firefighters who've been involved in the fires. I'm sure they could think of some appropriate and imaginative ways to get their point across!

8th Feb 2009, 14:12
I hope Buster Hyman will in future carefully consider and evaluate the risks / benefits of endangering 'life and limb'. If only because JetBlast would be a poorer place without you...?! ;)

Nevertheless, from the comfort of my armchair, I have some observations to share:

1) Compared with last year's California fires, Australia's fires today have resulted in many more lives lost. Why? I realise that the total area affected is perhaps 10 times greater than that of the California fires, but even so...

2) I have the impression that in California, it was mainly housing that was at risk. So evacuating entire communities 'early on' made sense. So why wasn't this done in Australia? Or are / were those mainly affected those who felt obliged to remain in order to protect their livelihoods eg. farmers with livestock etc. :confused: Or something worse, admirable Ozzie stubborness in the face of adversity, perhaps encouraged by public officials etc... :uhoh:

3) Coincidentally, in recent weeks, I've been watching a TV program here about Australian architects of mostly multi-million $ luxury homes built 'out in the sticks' (or bush or whatever) there. In every case, the architects had taken into serious consideration the dangers posed to the property by cyclones, floods and wildfires. One property was even equipped with a comprehensive 'external sprinkler system', designed to be able to operate continuously for over 2 hours and incorporating multiple water-tanks with a total capacity of over 180,000 litres from a location with a sufficient height to operate the system without using pumps. Obviously, a multi-millionaire (and his architect) can afford overkill.

But shouldn't the average house-owner (or community) in 'high-risk' areas also be expected to take adequate preventative measures today? Whether that involves limiting the number of incendiary trees and vegetation, or more appropriately, removing 'dry brush' from within a 50-100m radius of their properties? In addition to keeping their home insurance policies paid up. And evacuate early on enough so that fire-fighters might concentrate on fighting the fires instead of devoting all their efforts on saving the lives of all the idiots who didn't get out early enough...?! :rolleyes: At the end of the day, once residents have been evacuated, I reckon that most fire-fighters also perhaps ought to call it a day and go home. Saving lives and containing a fire is one thing. Risking life and limb to limit the losses to insurance companies is quite another. At some stage, the fire-fighter must decide whether what they're doing is worthwhile or whether they've become the unpaid servants of an insurance company...?! :confused:

8th Feb 2009, 14:16
Just found this thread. Thinking of you mate, watch out for yourself. Make it a slab of beer for Buster...

A gong for Buster perhaps? :ok:

DX Wombat
8th Feb 2009, 14:25
Airship, unlike California where it seems to be mainly woody scrub which burns the gum trees in Australia give off highly imflammable oils which fuel the fires. The leaves are a good, readily available source of these oils and being located at the tops of the trees help the fires to crown out spreading at an incredibly fast rate. The direction of spread can change without warning so areas thought to be safe suddenly find themselves directly in the path of the fires.
My suggestion for what to do with the criminals who light the fires deliberately: force them to attend as many of the funerals of their victims as possible, then make them clear up the results of their activities, following which they should have to help rebuild the homes which have been lost and last, but not least, send them out to fight similar fires and let them see just how terrifying it really is. I don't mean send them out to fight just one, they should be sent to every single one and right into the thick of it, no pussyfooting about on the perimeters of the areas thought to be safe.
I am NOT a vindictive person but what these criminals have done is horrific and I wouldn't like to be in their shoes if they do encounter someone truly vindictive

8th Feb 2009, 14:28
The news is now saying 84 with the distinct possibility that the toll may top 100. At least the weather forcecast is for cooler weather tomorrow with the possibility of rain. That, at least, will be a blessing for the firefighters.

As for the scrotes that set fires I think that there should be the ability to hang them by the neck until dead. This latest incident is on a par with terrorism.

We had a major fire in the Perth hills a couple of years ago. I didn't take the pic below - I was driving the light tanker. We got out of that situation by the skin of our teeth. The fire was moving incredibly fast.


8th Feb 2009, 14:32

Good luck, mate.

Like the way yer Missus is in on the scene and is lookin' after yer in the 'post traumatic' stuff.

Take care.

8th Feb 2009, 14:51
Whatever the final death toll may be, how can we come to grips withe arseholes who deliberately set these fires? No thinking person can understand it. What do these people do when they watch the news and realise they have killed people? Are they still thrilled by the excitement of it all or do some of them think, hey hang on, I didn't want to kill anyone?

To me it doesn't matter a great deal. My basest (is that a word?) instincts rise to the surface when I hear about things like this, and though I've never thrown a punch in my life I pray for the opportunity of five minutes armed with a baseball bat in a padded room with the perpetrators.

I'm not at all sure what that makes me, apart from a gigantic hypocrite, but I don't care. Keep up the good work, Buster. The really insidious part is that a lot of people who join volunteer fire brigades do so because of their fascination with arson.

Make that a stainless steel baseball bat, please. Ms Wombat probably has a better idea in making them attend the funerals of those they have murdered, but I'm just a bloke and at the last resort violence has a certain symmetry. Don't ever be the person to hurt one of the Binoettes.

8th Feb 2009, 14:56
Definately a slab of beer for Buster:)

As a QLD firie, just a few points airship, -

in terms of the death toll, sadly i would predict that the majority will be in vehicles trying to flee the flames. There has unfortunately in the past been a lot of deaths in vehicles as people try to flee too late - we've now gone to a policy of "stay and defend(the property) or go early". If you are going to stay then stay but don't leave at the last minute. However, most people whilst it is a distant problem will say they're staying (perfectly reasonable, if they've spent years building/living there they want to protect it) but when they see flames they panic and bolt (again a normal/reasonable action) but this places them at a bigger risk than staying. I'm the first to admit i'm not sure as to the answer to that quandry.

In terms of evacuating a community, it would depend on numerous factors. Up here in Qld, we can still order an evacuation if required and police will remove everyone, however i don't think vic allows that if they want to stay then that's it, their call. Secondly, a lot of houses (the majority?) in bushfires are not destroyed by direct flame contact but by an ember attack ( glowing embers blown into the house set it alight) if the home owner is there he can put out the embers and may save his property. The other concern with evacuating a whole community is traffic- you're blocking/ clogging roads with evac' traffic just when you want them clear for fire appliances.

As for keeping the property clean/ clear of scrub, i'm not sure you need a law- it would be difficult to enforce ("their property they can do what they like on it" would be one argument) and who would enforce it (fire/council/EPA??). However, In Qld and Nsw if a property is overgrown / scrubby then it is the firies choice and generally if a property is completey undefendable we don't go in, however make an effort to protect the property, then we'll make an effort too, But if they can't look after their property and keep it clean/safe/secure then we will not put our crews lives at risk for bricks and mortar.

As for the sprinkler systems, I've never seen one used on a really bad fire day and they are designed to stop an ember attack, to be honest i'm not sure how they would've coped with the fire conditions there.

Sorry for the long post, and not having a go at you airship - you raised some good points and hopefully this has helped:ok:

Keep safe down there Buster


8th Feb 2009, 15:01
Ditto for WA landy. We had a death at a fire last year when it was panic evac (to be fair the fire was moving that fast there was no warning) and the poor girl drove into smoke, went off the road and that was that. Not sure whether it was the crash or the fire that finished her off.

DX Wombat
8th Feb 2009, 15:39
BBC latest (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7877178.stm). Heaven help them all. We need to pray for rain for them, and rain in sufficient quantity to douse the flames.

8th Feb 2009, 15:57
Thank you for your input here (and all your efforts there) landy01!

You evoke ...a policy of "stay and defend (the property) or go early" on an ad hoc basis. Is that the official Oz government-sanctionned response to wildfires there? And how on earth is that manageable? Surely the end-result is that fire-fighters have to assume that lives are at risk throughout the whole zone as opposed to only say severely (limited?) areas where property-owners are authorised to stay on the basis that their presence would be more useful than otherwise...? :confused:

Maybe most Australians living in areas highly prone to wildfires can't afford the installation of individual sprinkler systems with 180,000 litre tank capacities...?! But Shirley, they ought to consider incorporating a tornado shelter in their abodes? OK, no tornadoes there, but I suspect a good con-pilot Oklahoma-style tornado shelter would also preserve human lives against wildfires?! It was just a thought...

Still, I'm quite sad when I think about all those Kuolas up those highly-inflammable eucalyptus trees...but maybe the reason kangaroos can hop/jump so long/high is because of all the wildfire embers that evolution has allowed them to cope with? At least, the dingoes are safe 'on the other side of the fence'...?! :ok:

8th Feb 2009, 17:07
Ironically, I was speaking to my in-laws at Innisfail, Queensland, who are reeling from a sustained deluge of rain that has sent the river through the town well over its banks causing extensive damage, in Innisfail and throughout the TNQ region.

Buster, I echo the thoughts and prayers for you and all those fighting the fires. You're part of the thin line of firefighters, police, soldiers, et al, taking risks to keep people alive and their property intact, often thanklessly.

Cheers to you!

8th Feb 2009, 17:15
As for the scrotes that set fires I think that there should be the ability to hang them by the neck until dead.

Or at least until the rope burns through...

8th Feb 2009, 18:03
airship wrote: they ought to consider incorporating a tornado shelter in their abodes? OK, no tornadoes there, but I suspect a good con-pilot Oklahoma-style tornado shelter would also preserve human lives against wildfires?! It was just a thought...

Airship, having been in the path of an aproaching fire driven by high winds, we were "smoked" for about three hours before it hit our community, and you can't imagine how hard it is to breath with the air full of particles. It goes on and on before you see the first flames. Then the fire arrives and suddenly you're short of O2 as well.

I always thought i'd stay and fight the fire: when it happened we were only too ready to obey the police and leave the fire fighting to the professionals, God Bless Them.

8th Feb 2009, 19:16
but I suspect a good con-pilot Oklahoma-style tornado shelter would also preserve human lives against wildfires?! It was just a thought...

Sadly not in every case airship. The problem is two fold using a traditional storm shelter as refuge from grass/forest fires. If, and very big if, the fire is very fast moving you do have a chance of surviving by seeking protecting in a storm shelter. However, if the fire is slow moving, or becomes stationary, you have two serious problems that will probably kill you. First, probably the most merciful, you would die from asphyxiation as the fire would suck all of the oxygen from the shelter. Secondly, and much worse in my opinion, would be that anyone in a storm shelter in a slow moving or stationary fire would literally be baked to death as the shelter would become a giant oven.

No, best bet is to get out before the fire reaches you.

You're a brave man Buster, it takes a special person that runs toward danger as the rest of us run away. Keep smart and safe. :ok:

Rwy in Sight
8th Feb 2009, 20:02
Regarding the fire fighting capabilities how well organized are the local/ federal forces? Are there any plans that are reviewed and dry ran every year?

Somebody said that there is an 1-10-100 ratio that 1 Currency unit in firefighting preparation / prevention is worth 10 units in firefighting abilities and 100 units in money spent post fire. How is the situation in Australia?

All the best.

Rwy in Sight

Buster Hyman
8th Feb 2009, 20:37
Oh I can think of braver ones Con! ;)

I've just finished a 12 hour night shift "blacking out" areas already burned. This is to make sure they don't flare up again & don't shed embers into unburnt areas. It's an eerily dead landscape & all around us we could see small points of orange light where smouldering trees & hotspots remained. As we descended into the treeline, we were seeing & hearing the gum trees snapping & one fell nearby. It's tough to clearly see where we need to go, but knowing that its just too dangerous to enter in the dark. My cousin is a Scouser firefighter & he reckons we're mad for doing this for free!!!:}

So, they're talking 108 deaths at the moment. Complete & utter tragedy. Some expats may recall the retired newsreader Brian Naylor, well, sadly he & his wife are victims of this fire. The dayshift guys were telling us they are just going street by street & finding bodies.

airship...I'm just too tired to contribute an answer to your valid questions, but I think Landy01 has pretty much nailed it. As firies, we don't have the power to forcibly evacuate, but I think Victoria Police do. The "fight or flee" principle generally works in that when the fire front hits, it hits hard & fast. If you're staying, you do your best asset protection up to it hitting you, then seek shelter. Once past, you assess the situation & decide if you can save the property or evacuate. Yes, more holes than Swiss cheese, but due to the speed, I think the fire front doesn't have time to engulf the property on it's own. It's an accumulation of embers that generally cause the problems....I don't dare re-read this last bit as it's probably rubbish coz I've been up for 23hours!:zzz:

Hi seafury45. I worked on the Canberra Coronial Inquest...what an absolute cluster f*** that was!!! :(

Binos & anyone else who wants to go after the arsonists...I've got a better one for you. There were been some young guys yesterday driving up to the fire crews on the roads, jumping out & throwing punches! I shit you not! Cops have been chasing them all over trying to stop them. Sicker than bat shit some of the freaks down here.

Anyhoo, we've got an 800 k fire front, or so they told me. Not sure if I'll be called in again tonight. Better email work to tell them I won't be in, nice cuppa & brekky with the family & then...:zzz::zzz::zzz::zzz:

8th Feb 2009, 21:08
Sleep well Buster.
You and your mates are doing a fine job. :D

Where can we send a donation? :ok:

8th Feb 2009, 22:23
Reddo. The Salvation Army offers opportunities for on-line donations. There are a number of organisations also co ordinating donations but I suspect their 1800 numbers might not be any use to you. Try here. :ok:

News Release - Bushfire Appeal (http://www.salvationarmy.org.au/SALV/STANDARD/1001/PC_60593.html)


8th Feb 2009, 22:30
Got this from the main man himself.

How you can help

To donate to the Red Cross State Government Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund:
* Visit Australian Red Cross (http://www.redcross.org.au)
* Phone 1800 811 700
* Any NAB, ANZ, Westpac or Commonwealth Bank branch
* Any Bunnings store
* By direct deposit to the Victorian Bushfire Relief Fund - BSB 082-001, Account number 860-046-797
Myer Bushfire Appeal
* All proceeds to the Salvation Army. Donate at any Victorian Myer store

The 1800 number won't work so I'll take a closer look at the other options.

8th Feb 2009, 22:35
Stay safe Buster - you, yours and your countrymen.

8th Feb 2009, 22:44
Just been reported, that 108 are dead and more expected as the Police and CFA get to burnt out properties. Half of Victoria is now a crime scene.

Burn the arsonists at a stake, very slowly. hanging is too quick.


8th Feb 2009, 23:37
Having been privy to the friendliness and warmth of the Australian people , the uniqueness of your flora and fauna, my thoughts are with you.

This is a terrible tragedy. I hope all our Australian members are out of harm's way.

Little Lady
9th Feb 2009, 00:11
Fatal Victorian inferno (http://news.ninemsn.com.au/slideshow_ajax.aspx?sectionid=9016&sectionname=slideshowajax&subsectionid=150966&subsectionname=bigfires) , the pictures tell the tale of devastation.

We have so much water up here in Qld, wish we could share it with you. :(

Senior Pilot
9th Feb 2009, 00:44
We have a thread running here (http://www.pprune.org/rotorheads/359304-fires-nsw-victoria.html) in Rotorheads, with some pictures from Sunday in Melbourne.

Tragic events :(

Dark Knight
9th Feb 2009, 00:47

My suggestion for what to do with the criminals who light the fires deliberately: force them to attend as many of the funerals of their victims as possible, then make them clear up the results of their activities, following which they should have to help rebuild the homes which have been lost and last, but not least, send them out to fight similar fires and let them see just how terrifying it really is. I don't mean send them out to fight just one, they should be sent to every single one and right into the thick of it, no pussyfooting about on the perimeters of the areas thought to be safe.
I am NOT a vindictive person but what these criminals have done is horrific and I wouldn't like to be in their shoes if they do encounter someone truly vindictive

Then publicly Hang Them!


9th Feb 2009, 02:37
Thanks for the thoughts.
I am no expert. I have been through a large Victorian bushfire.
Unfortunately I have to respectfully disagree with Airship. Fires in USA awful but hard to compare.

Unfortunately Victoria is the worst area in the world, not just Australia, for bushfires. It is the dense eucalyptus forests at the end of the hot wind. The bushfires are arguably on a scale different to anywhere else in Australia, let alone the world.

Victorian Country Fire Authority also are arguably the most knowledgeable, practical and best Volunteer or professional fire fighting organization in the world for bushfires, particularly with regard to local conditions that are unique. Doesn’t mean we/they can’t learn lessons from every bushfire, especially this one.

It is no fault of anyone who lives interstate or overseas but unless you experience the weather conditions that occur sometimes here you can have no comprehension of what factors lead up to these conflagrations and how to survive the fires that can occur in those weather conditions.

We have regular summer hot days and hot north winds, but once or twice every 50 years we have an extraordinary set of conditions that are frightening in their potential for disaster. Saturday was one of those.

46.5 Centigrade, dry heat, summer dry season and everything tinder dry, hot dry north northwest wind of 40 to 50 knots (come all the way across barren centre of Australia before it gets to Victorian hills that have vast dense forests of second tallest trees in the world, and are Eucalyptus which burn ferociously and at certain temperature explode if a small burning branch carried forward by ferocious wind lands, and "Crown", which means the fire travels along top of canopy in advance of lower down fire). Fire travels faster up hills. It travels at I guess 60+ mph. Fires that start in those conditions are unstoppable but the fires travel fast and you don’t get warning or time to evacuate. It will be on you with little warning.
Many Victorians don’t understand this or panic and leave at last minute. I hope I wouldn’t do same thing but I am no braver than the next man (it is a frightening prospect and even the bravest plans can be abandoned at last minute when the fire arrives). Despite CFA (Victorian Country Fire Authority) advice, people at last minute in panic, scream to the wife/husband “were leaving NOW” and jump in car and drive off at furious speed to out run flames.

Problem is roads don’t go straight away from advancing fire front, so fire catches them, and visibility is zero in smoke, so they often hit something that is unseen (another car or tree or run off side of road) and then car incapacitated so they just have no options left and fire just runs over the top of them.

Chance of survival NIL (not true – can sometimes survive if get down between front and rear seat with WOOLLEN (not synthetic) blanket over you and in open not near trees).

We have to somehow get people to look on the house as a REFUGE, not a threat. No guarantee of survival but best chance. Don’t get in Spa, or tank or river. Defend house as fire approaches (from embers that lodge, when fire front near then get in middle of house with curtains drawn, with wet blanket over you and wait till fast moving fire front passes, and then leave house (in thick woolen clothing even though temperature will be unbearably hot, and good footwear and gloves) and watch house and if able try to save house that will catch alight in a few small areas at first (due embers lodging) often a few minutes after fire front goes past.

Mass mandatory evacuations will kill not save. Even if you could no safe place to evacuate to within practical distance. Majority of people on Saturday were overwhelmed with 1 hour of fire start.

Not all bushfires are in the same league as this one. Victoria on an average hot north wind day (38C dry heat, summer dry months and north wind of 20 to 30 knots) has very dangerous bushfires ( and grass fires) but they travel a bit slower and get a bit of warning.


PS I haven't been in California in their fire season so I may be talking through my hat.
Western Australia has dense forrests in South West - they may have similar conditions to Victoria

Atlas Shrugged
9th Feb 2009, 03:03
Best of luck Buster and stay safe, mate.....:ok:

9th Feb 2009, 04:57
From the Melbourne Herald-Sun's website. (Both the Melbourne papers this morning, The Herald-Sun and The Age have pages of horror stories that leave the reader simultaneously shocked and full of admiration for the fire fighters.)

By Michelle Draper

February 09, 2009 12:21pm

A DOCTOR treating Victoria's bushfire burns victims at Melbourne's The Alfred hospital says the magnitude of the disaster is worse than the Bali bombings.

With 20 serious burns patients admitted to The Alfred in 24 hours, emergency department doctor De Villiers Smit said it was worse than what he saw after the Bali bombings in 2002.

Dr Smit said all the bushfire burns victims patients in The Alfred had burns to more than 30 per cent of their bodies.

"This is by far the worst disaster I've ever been involved with," Dr Smit said. "These patients that we are seeing right now are major burns patients, whereas with the Bali bombing there was more trauma involved, broken bones, blast injuries because of the bombs going off."

Dr Smit said the bushfire patients were "incredibly emotional" as many had lost loved ones.

"Probably the majority of the patients we have seen have lost somebody during the disaster," he said.

"Not only do they have to cope with their own problem at the moment, they also have to cope with the loss of their loves ones as well."

The Alfred burns unit surgical director Heather Cleland said several burns victims were still on life support.

Dr Cleland said 20 people admitted with serious burns in 24 hours was a record for the hospital's burns unit.

"These are patients with major burns injuries, with or without significant smoke inhalation injuries as well," she said.

Dr Cleland said many of the victims had watched others perish in the fires.

"The classic burns patterns that we are seeing is mostly due to people who have been forced to run through flames or have been exposed to extremely high radiant heat temperatures," she said.

"Most patients have significant feet and hand burns as well as involving their arms and lower legs especially."

Dr Cleland said many people also had facial burns but fortunately most of those were superficial.

She said skin substitutes and a variety of other treatments were being used on the patients, many of whom would undergo major operations over the next two days.

Social workers are ensuring patients' emotional needs are well catered for, on top of their medical needs, Dr Cleland said.

"Obviously this is a terribly stressful time for many people and communities," she said.

"We are doing everything we can to make sure that we look after them as well as we can."

The burns unit is not expecting any more major burns patients at this stage, she said.

The unit has been assured of extra medical staff from interstate but they were not required just yet.

By Sandra O'Malley

February 08, 2009 10:03pm

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has told the nation to prepare itself for worse news as the inferno ravaging Victoria became Australia's most deadly on record.
The military has been put on stand-by to provide assistance and most Australians were in shock as the death toll in Victoria climbed to 84, superseding the 1983 Ash Wednesday disaster, which claimed 75 lives.

Mr Rudd promised all Australians would partner in the rebuilding of the Victorian communities razed by the bushfires.

"We've come through bad times before and we'll come through this one," he said.

But he warned people to prepare for more bad news.

"I fear in the days ahead that the news is going to be bad and, I believe, the nation needs to prepare itself as full facts become known," he said.

The prime minister has spent much of Sunday touring fire-ravaged communities and speaking to workers at the state's Country Fire Authority (CFA) headquarters.

With Victorian Premier John Brumby, Mr Rudd announced a joint $10 million emergency relief fund to help victims of the tragedy.

"The Rudd and Brumby governments are working closely together to ensure that the people and emergency workers in Victoria have all the support they require during this difficult time," he said.

The prime minister will head out to fire-affected communities again this morning before he is expected to return to Canberra later in the day for question time in parliament.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is on standby to assist, providing resources and expertise including the deployment of army bulldozers to build fire breaks.

Mr Rudd was in talks with high-level defence specialists this evening, discussing what the military could do to assist in each of the affected communities.

Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon told AAP a response plan was in place to allow commanders on the ground to do everything possible to deal with requests for assistance.

"We stand ready to help in any way that we can and we will respond positively to any request where we think we can make a positive contribution," he said.

"The most obvious areas will be the deployment of heavy earth-moving equipment to assist with the containment of fires."

Twelve army bulldozers have already been deployed to near Yea in northeast Victoria.

Defence may help with the provision of stretchers and possibly tents to accommodate people who have lost their homes in the fires.

"(And) we do have some expertise in firefighting as well and we'll be providing advice on the ground as well," Mr Fitzgibbon said.

But the minister said there weren't sufficient numbers of ADF personnel with firefighting experience to help battle the bushfires directly.

From Monday, Centrelink will begin making disaster relief payments of $1000 for adults and $400 for children effected by the bushfires.

Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said the money would help people who fled their homes without so much as clothes or a toothbrush.

"There are hundreds of people there, many of them have lost everything and this $1000 is really just to help them get some emergency clothing, a toothbrush. It's really just to provide immediate assistance," she told the Macquarie Radio Network.

Centrelink will offer counselling services from Victorian relief centres and funeral assistance worth up to $5,000 will be available to the families of people who've died in the fires.

The government will consider further assistance, as required.

Jeff Turnbull

February 09, 2009 12:05pm

THE worst possible news came for three daughters as they waited for information about their elderly parents and disabled brother.

Two of their husbands had gone through the roadblock where they waited near bushfire-ravaged Narbethong in a desperate search for their in-laws Faye and Bill Walker and their son, Geoffrey, 53, who was wheelchair-bound.

Narbethong, in the Upper Yarra Valley, was razed by bushfires on Saturday, and the two men made their way to the ruined home yesterday and made their grisly find.

Bill, Faye and Geoffrey were dead.

Their car had been parked outside the house, packed and ready to go with the key in the ignition and family dog in the back.

But they had left their departure too late.

The three bodies were found inside the house.

The couple's three daughters, Marilyn, Julie and Vivian, were inconsolable as they cried and hugged each other at the roadblock, outside Healesville.

Son-in-law Ian Creek remembered Bill and Faye as wonderful people and gifted gardeners who had turned their garden into a district showpiece.

And Geoffrey was a flower show judge.

Bill had built a lot of homes in the area and in the early 1970s he found a 10-acre property on the Acheron River, Mr Creek said.

He said the family had got together and turned the original cottage into a family home, where the couple retired with Geoffrey.

The couple's garden was a showpiece they'd entered in many competitions, Mr Creek said.

One of the daughters, Marilyn, was married there.

Megan McNaught

February 03, 2009 12:00am

THE real casualties are starting to emerge as the Gippsland bushfire clean-up begins.

Koalas, kangaroos, echidnas and other native animals are coming into the Mountain Ash Wildlife Shelter in Rawson.

Carer Colleen Wood specialises in treating burns and will receive most animals rescued from the fires.

Among her charges is Kelly the koala, who has a four-month-old joey. Kelly was picked up in Boolarra on Sunday with burnt feet and suffering smoke inhalation.

"She looks OK now but it takes about 10 days for the burns to come out so you never really know," Ms Wood said.

As animals are brought in from the fires they're put on a breathing apparatus.

Kelly's burnt feet were then bandaged, she was put on an IV drip for 24 hours and her liver function tested, as this often fails in koalas.

It will take about four months to nurse her back to health, but she's one of the lucky ones - there are thousands of animals still out there.

Ms Wood and a team of dedicated carers, Department of Sustainability and Environment staff and other volunteers today will head into affected areas, many of which are still smouldering, to bring some back.

"We go with a big group of carers and we normally do line searches," she said.

"Sometimes they're in shock and are easy to pick up but other times they can be a bit reluctant."

Also in Ms Wood's care is Donald the echidna, who had the tops of most of his spines singed off.

"He must have burrowed into the ground while the fire went right over the top of him," she said. "It breaks my heart to think what they have experienced."

Firefighters at Delburn were finally able to breathe easier last night. The fire was within containment lines, although there was still an area of concern in Mirboo North.

An estimated 100 new fires started yesterday across the state. Most were believed to be sparked by lightning.

Grateful Boolarra resident Kathy Ryan baked two cakes yesterday, one for local Country Fire Authority volunteers, and one for the Teychenne family, who lost their house.

Anyone wishing to donate to help animals affected by bushfires: WRAP - Wildlife Rescue and Protection (http://www.wrap.org.au/)

Capt Kremin
9th Feb 2009, 05:12
Hey Buster.... Glad you are still with us mate.

Apparently at least three QF pilots lost their houses and possessions. I am sure other pilots are affected.

One QF pilot on Qrewroom made a great suggestion.... we all have backpay due to us soon for allowances that were unadjusted for three years. This is money I neither expected to receive or currently need. All of mine is going to the appeal, or maybe directly to my brother QF guys who lost everything, I hope others will think along similiar lines.

For those wondering, the Australian Eucalypt fire is a beast unlike any other. The trees basically explode and it moves at a speed that can be incomprehensible. Sometimes only luck will save you if caught in the path of one these monsters.

I have always been a bleeding heart liberal on the question of capital punishment. I think I could make an exception for the people who light these fires though...

9th Feb 2009, 06:12
Ah well, the call has gone out for WA firefighters. I'm on the flight tomorrow.

At least I'll be doing something positive to help the situation - although we have some very hot weather coming up here. Hope that the loonies with matches stay indoors.

Buster if you spot any guys from Toodyay give us a hoy - I'll be one of 'em :ok:

9th Feb 2009, 06:15
Onya Buster.

Stay safe.

All you people in harm's way stay safe.

9th Feb 2009, 06:35
Thoughts are with you Buster.

I went through the 03 Canberra fires (north Kambah) and couldn't imagine trying to fight something like that.

(For others ...

Roar - this is the one thing that most people comment on who have been through an Oz firestorm - a dozen JT8D's would be closer to the mark.

Embers - We were under the firepath until the wind made a last minute change. The embers falling were up to 1.5 metres long and 3-4cm diameter. Definitely not leaves floating down out of the sky as people tend to imagine!

Sprinkler systems - I have seen them at a field day and they would work ... with a few caveats: 1) you have the water in the tank. Most places around here have around 22,000 litre tanks - 1 or 2 of them. At present our tank has around 3-4,000 litres in it, and 2) you get your timing right on when to activate the system - they empty the tank(s) very quickly.

Evacuation - say "evacuate everyone" - not easy to do in practice. For example, to visit a friend 8km (straightline) away towards the end of a valley takes 20-25 mins drive along a narrow road that winds through state forest. Communication of what's happening in the next valley or two is also a major problem.

Buster - hate to say it, but seeing your fires on the TV brought back many emotions (not to mention memories) that I thought I was long over. I fear this will live you for many years to come yet.

All the best.


Much Ado
9th Feb 2009, 06:37
Does anyone else find this

Megan McNaught

February 03, 2009 12:00am

THE real casualties are starting to emerge as the Gippsland bushfire clean-up begins.

Koalas, kangaroos, echidnas and other native animals are coming into the Mountain Ash Wildlife Shelter in Rawson.


Where do I write to formally complain?

Pinky the pilot
9th Feb 2009, 07:21
Where do I write to formally complain?

You'd be wasting your time Much Ado.

But yes, I agree that it is a bit disgusting!

Stay safe Buster.:ok: And two slabs of Coopers Ale for him!:ok:

henry crun
9th Feb 2009, 08:33
I'd like to add my wishes to all the others on this thread, look after yourself Buster.

9th Feb 2009, 09:15

9th Feb 2009, 09:33
Where do I write to formally complain?

Don't leap to conclusions too early here. I too wondered what on earth was going on when I read that, but if you check the dates on the reports they are chronologically arranged from last to first. The date on that particular article about the animals was Feb 3, six days ago and well before any human casualties.

9th Feb 2009, 09:45
Having been privy to the friendliness and warmth of the Australian people , the uniqueness of your flora and fauna, my thoughts are with you.

This is a terrible tragedy. I hope all our Australian members are out of harm's way.

Nothing much I can add to that.

People don't really suss out that all the banter between Poms and Aussies is just that -- banter.

It's at times like these we remember how close we really are. Trying to make a small web donation now.

unstable load
9th Feb 2009, 09:56

What a hauntingly beautiful photo! That, for me captures the savagery of the fires, but at the same time is a spectacular photo.

Buster and your colleagues and countrymen, You are all in my thoughts during this time. Take care out there and Godspeed in your fight, mate!

9th Feb 2009, 12:46
The picture of exhaustion.


Stay safe, Buster and sisemen and all you firies out there battling the monster. You know we're all thinking of you and hoping this nightmare comes to an end very soon.

Buster Hyman
9th Feb 2009, 15:56
Finished my second night early. Most of the area I've been working is relatively safe now (except for more nutters with guns!)

Went in a bit deeper & saw a few lost homes. Fine ash & dust on the ground reminded me of the pictures of the Moon landings. Not so many hotspots, but enough to keep us out n about.

Our driver on Saturday, who was visibly shaken at the time, opened up a little more about the day today. Whilst we were safely cucooned in the back, he had to get us out of there. He had to negotiate all those cars and...well, I don't think I need to describe in detail what he told me, but, suffice to say, I actually am greatful that we saw nothing on our exit from the area.:(

You've all been very kind with your messages of support & offers of slabs, although I reckon I've been offered more beer than I've drunk in my lifetime! If you are keen, please consider the options for donations to the victims. After all, I went home on Saturday, hugged the wife & kids, and had a relatively good nights sleep.

If you're keen to offer something to the volunteers, why not pick your local organisation & drop something down there & let them know that what you've seen from here has given you some additional appreciation for their work? :ok:

Just a thought.

PS. If we ever get a bash in MEL, I'm calling in all these beers!!!!!:}:}:};)

9th Feb 2009, 16:58
I just slung the Aussie Red Cross some money to give'em a hand.

I've had a quick look, can't find any where to send a donation to the fire brigades? :confused:

Lon More
9th Feb 2009, 18:51
Reddo - and others This (http://www.vfbv.com.au/vwf_introduction.php) might be a starting place, although reading further i'm not so sure. I've sent the admin a mail asking if they know of a charity which would benefit the firefighters directly. There is one in NSW but can't find one for Victoria

9th Feb 2009, 20:44
Just wanted to add my sympathies to all those affected by this and especially all our Aussie JBers. I've been horrified by the pictures I've seen and the stories I've heard on the news. It looks like hell on earth.

I've been impressed by your PM who has shown a level of genuine humanity in response to this unusual in a politician and certainly something we're not used to here.

Indeed it's at time like this that we are reminded that the friendly rivalry between us Poms and you Aussies is just that - friendly.

We're thinking about you - good on ya :)

9th Feb 2009, 21:31
Good work, Buster, and your colleagues as well. Thanks for posting your account here.

Duff beer
9th Feb 2009, 22:29
just wanna say sorry to all our family in Oz.
horrible news, our thoughts are with you.

BBC NEWS | News Front Page (http://news.bbc.co.uk/)

9th Feb 2009, 22:34
Jetblast has not been ignoring this situation [the way that NYC teevee news seems to be doing].

There is a thread started by Buster Hyman about his own experience which has grown, deservedly, to six pages.

CBS TV has been blathering on for 35 minutes straight about some ballplayer using drugs and the NYC Mayor honoring the crew of the downed US Air flight, but they have seemingly not got time to cover the events of one of the few countries ever to stand with the US on some of our more unpopular adventures.

It sickens me.

Edited to add that 39 minutes into the hour long broadcast, less than sixty seconds was devoted to the fire, just before going on to some awards show or other and some dogs.

9th Feb 2009, 22:38
Buster, thanks again for keeping us posted and if you get the chance to post a link for those of us on the wrong side of this small planet, for firefighters or families, other than those already posted, it will be gratefully received.

9th Feb 2009, 22:42
Ultralights, my gawd.....that photo.....I'm speechless.

I wish we could send you our Martin Mars waterbombers.


9th Feb 2009, 23:08
finfly1, try the hated and despised 'Fox News', they are devoting a lot of coverage to the ongoing tragedy in OZ.

9th Feb 2009, 23:38
If you follow this link it tells you how to make a donation to the Country Fire Association, (CFA), a volunteer firefighting organisation:

Supporting CFA - Country Fire Authority (http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/about/supportingcfa.htm)

Jimmy Macintosh
10th Feb 2009, 00:15
Utmost respect to you Buster and your fellow fire fighters.

I sat helplessly in southern CA last year watching the fires surround my city and the only escape was the ocean. Thankfully the line that was critcal never was crossed. Everything here is built with wood. If it had ever got in the city proper it was goodbye.

Felt incredible pride in all of the Fire fighters that I saw and thanked each one.

Stay safe.

My company lost one of our VP's who was a volunteer during those fires.

10th Feb 2009, 00:34
Thanks. Luckily BBC America came through with some decent coverage.

10th Feb 2009, 01:26
WA firefighters (including me) still sitting on the ground waiting to go. Apparently there is some communication cock up between the Victorian CFA and WA FESA (Fire and Emergency Services Authority). And nobody is telling us anything :mad:

The mushroom syndrome is alive and well!

10th Feb 2009, 02:11
Jimmy, my condolences for your loss. :(

Heart-wrenching picture of the day:


Also, The Boston Globe has a photo feature (http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/02/bushfires_in_victoria_australi.html) on the fires. There is nothing graphic, per se, but the imagery is haunting.

Whiskey Oscar Golf
10th Feb 2009, 02:51
Buster, Glad you're alive and well and I'll be doing a months worth of food shopping at coles on friday and anything else I can do to help all those who were touched by the hellish fury unleashed upon Victoria.

teresa green
10th Feb 2009, 04:38
Was in Ash Wed, followed by fires in the Hunter 1993 and 2001, will never forget the noise, terror, mad wind, and feeling so totally out of control of my own enviroment, once in it,. never forgotten. So Buster look after your self, no risks, and it can turn on you before you know it, stay safe mate.

Buster Hyman
10th Feb 2009, 05:17
Well, they don't need us for the nights anymore. Pretty much cooled down in our area of ops, so unless there's something nasty & unanticipated ahead, then that's my effort completed.

The Beechworth fire is still going so I imagine that if you get over here siseman, that may be where you'll go. I sympathise with you in being ready to go, but not going anywhere. You'd think logistics would be the easy part ... Tassie crews were coming up today I'd heard & even a contingent from the USA (returning the favour I imagine):ok:

My thanks to you all again for the kind words of support, and practical support of the Pprune community!:ok:

PS. I promised an update on the Fireman with throat burns. He's coming through okay I believe, not as bad as first feared, but still recovering in hospital.

Chimbu chuckles
10th Feb 2009, 07:44
Hey for those non Aussies reading this thread the most amazing pic is not the one of the flames but the one above of the fireman giving the Koala a drink...those little barstds are NOT THAT FRIENDLY and have REALLY nasty claws!

Respect Buster!!!!:ok:

Do you think they'll ever get big FW that can buffer small towns in the path of these fires with mud while the smaller RW/FW/CFA attack the flames?

There is a roll on/off kit for C130s that could be used by the RAAF boys/girls (already trained in low/tactical flying)...surely it would have saved some homes and lives?

10th Feb 2009, 08:00
Maybe someone can enlighten me - why on earth aren't the miltary choppers tasked to help out in major situations like this, especially in the critical early stages. I am thinking more supply/evac/medievac tasking than bucket dumping.

10th Feb 2009, 08:28
Check ABC.net.au (http://www.abc.net.au) for latest & live coverage

10th Feb 2009, 08:35
WA firefighters (including me) still sitting on the ground waiting to go. Apparently there is some communication cock up between the Victorian CFA and WA FESA (Fire and Emergency Services Authority). And nobody is telling us anything

Similar situation here, i am at Nowra, on HMAS Albatross, the guys here are just hanging on 1 phone call, and have 817 and 816 Sqns (Sea Kings and Seahawks) ready to go, every aircraft with its own Bambi bucket and winching rescue equipment... and the army gets the call to clean up..:ugh:

Message to Rudd!!!, get the Chief of navy on the phone, and get those aircraft in the air!!!!! the guys are trained for it, and have the equipment..

DX Wombat
10th Feb 2009, 10:29
Buster, I'm really pleased your mate is doing well, hope he continues to improve rapidly. Throat burns are incredibly nasty.

10th Feb 2009, 11:10
Some pretty sobering images on ABC (the BBC showed a 30 min segment on their news channel yesterday morning). A truly terrible catastrophe. Keep safe all of you down there.

teresa green
10th Feb 2009, 11:12
What do you do with arsonists? easy. Hang em by the [email protected] slowly for as long as it takes. Thanks to all of the brotherhood from around the world who have posted their sympathy here, we really appreciate it.

10th Feb 2009, 11:46
The poor buggers who have escaped and want to go back and rebuild will now be burdened with Binos creeping about wanting to buy them beer

He flagged changes to planning and fire protection laws and said the authority would function for as long as it takes to rebuild - at least 12 to 18 months
Sky News: Fire authority to rebuild communities (http://www.skynews.com.au/news/article.aspx?id=301714)

10th Feb 2009, 11:59
Onya tinpis. Arrowing straight to the real heart of the problem as usual. Thanks for your contribution. :rolleyes:

Buster, everyone I know I have spoken to about your claims about firemen being assaulted has been incredulous. I'd love to hear some more details.

Congratulations on your part in the crisis, thanks for your assistance. Real Australians appreciate it. This has united us beyond political differences and I would be absolutely delighted to buy you a few beers any time.

10th Feb 2009, 11:59
Maybe someone can enlighten me - why on earth aren't the miltary choppers tasked to help out in major situations like this

Unfortunately its not that easy, it takes a formal request from the states/ emergency services chiefs to the dept defence for help. its very convoluted. The defence force will be primed ready to go, but they need the proper authority to go. Defence has no jurisdiction in civil matters.

As for the roll on/off tank for the hercs, I think it (as far aas I recall, there is only one) was designed for the E models, so probably doesnt fit /compatible with the current fleet. Then there are the engineering/airworthiness approvals required and the training. The cost is huge. In the old days it could probably have been fitted and used but not any more.

Its gonna be really hot here in the west tomorrow, possibility of fires here is pretty high.

Chimbu chuckles
10th Feb 2009, 12:04
ABC would be the last place to look for accurate news...its all our fault/Global warming doomsayer BS on that channel.

10th Feb 2009, 12:20
Its ok, everything is fine, the Queen has sent a message of condolence........

10th Feb 2009, 12:37
try the hated and despised 'Fox News', they are devoting a lot of coverage to the ongoing tragedy in OZ.

Naturally, Murdoch's press empire follows its owner's personal agenda in all things. And he is from Oz.

10th Feb 2009, 12:48
The poor buggers who have escaped and want to go back and rebuild will now be burdened with building rules and regulations they probably went to there towns to escape in the first place

I presume that means that the greenies want to ensure any rebuilding is closely surrounded by native trees. Probably the same people in coucils and the department of scorched earth who have worked hard to ensure that fuel reduction burning was stopped or at least minimised.

10th Feb 2009, 13:05
My boss was complaining last night that Sydney was cold and wet. My friend in north east Melbourne sent pictures of the smoke - you could barely see the sun at 2pm. He's on 'ember alert' checking for sparks, although there's no brush around him to burn.

Our thoughts are with all the people in Victoria.

Diesel Fitter
10th Feb 2009, 13:40
At least his rags are giving wide and I think unbiased coverage to the disaster -

Herald Sun Homepage | Victoria, National & Australian News | Herald Sun (http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/)

The Australian, News from Australia's National Newspaper (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/)

News | Breaking News from Brisbane and Queensland | The Courier-Mail (http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/)

cockney steve
10th Feb 2009, 14:00
From what i understand, land isn't a particularly scarce commodity in Oz. It would seem logical to "carve up" the country into blocks with (say) half-mile barren"corridors" between them....maybe these firebreaks could be "catch-cropped"....but basically,fire would have a much more difficult job jumping block-to -block...also, systematic demolition/explosives could possibly be applied to surrounding blocks,again reinforcing the firebreak.

Whilst I understand Tinny's take on things, sometimes we need regulation for the greater good. to me, it seems sensible to deforest a considerable area around any habitation and make sure the odd "shade-tree" is a slow-burning type,low on ouls and resins. Rhododendrons appear to be oily and burn fiercely once they get going...Ican only guess at the fear felt when a fireball races through the treetops.

Respects to those who pit themselves against that raw power.

10th Feb 2009, 14:34
Respect to you Buster and your colleagues. We're sitting here in the UK whining about a couple of cm of snow...

Thoughts are with all the affected people. The coverage here in the UK is very good, the story is being well told and us whinging Poms are genuinely affected by what's going on...

Take care out there.

10th Feb 2009, 14:43
2330 and I've just got in from what is probably the first of our fires for this coming week. Fortunately the wind (such as it was) was being kind to us and blowing the red stuff away from the hills and towards the river. Not a biggie by any means but I'm holding my breath for tomorrow and the day after.

10th Feb 2009, 16:12
For those of us worried about falling house prices, the doings of greedy bankers and inept politicians as well as other general effects of the global downturn, a buddy of mine tells me about the friends he visited in Healesville just 8 weeks ago.

They tell him their property remains out of harms way (as of yesterday, hope it's still the same), it stands on open ground with little surrounding brush or timber. They've done a mad tidy up to minimise the presence of potential fuel and got the place locked down. They're on the south of the town and in better shape, risk-wise, than the north. However, nearby towns of Kingslake and Marysville have been wiped out (see pictures earlier in this thread). The vineyards of the Yarra Valley through which they drove those weeks ago are reduced to what he called a "moonscape".

However, the couple are sleeping in shifts while the kids go to bed fully dressed to maintain a constant state of evacuation readiness. the kids are off school, not, at the time of his e-mail, because the school was in immediate danger but because of the unsettling effects on the children of empty seats. So far those empty seats seem to have been from evacuation rather than anything worse but the Headmaster, himself just two weeks in the job, just lost his house and all his belongings.

When I go home for dinner this evening with only the trials and tribulations of a tedious day in the office to worry me when I'd rather have been flying, and when the kids start their usual (and harmless) fooling around at the kitchen table, I shall consider the man and woman in Healesville who must take turns sleeping and the kids who must go to bed fully dressed, most probably very fearful of what the night might bring.

Good Luck to all the firefighters, on the ground and in the air, down there.


Beatriz Fontana
10th Feb 2009, 17:53

Its ok, everything is fine, the Queen has sent a message of condolence........

And she's dipped into her pocket (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7881374.stm), too. She's sent a donation to the Bushfire Fund. :ok:

Beatriz Fontana
10th Feb 2009, 17:59

You're a complete star. Best wishes to all your mates. I've just donated to the Bushfire Fund (http://www.redcross.org.au/vic/services_emergencyservices_victorian-bushfires-appeal-2009.htm) after reading your updates.

Stay safe and I'll buy you a number of cold beers!

John Eacott
10th Feb 2009, 20:40
He's on 'ember alert' checking for sparks, although there's no brush around him to burn.

"Sparks" is a bit of a misnomer. Ember attack involves burning branches, twigs, etc., being picked up and thrown up to miles ahead of a fire front by the strong wind that accompanies the fire. "Sparks" are just those annoying bits that get in through the open door and smolder on your flying suit or the co pilot's seat ;)

DF's photo reminds me of one taken of me being sent into a bit of a burn with the Air Attack Supervisor's comment: "We'll be back in 20 minutes, just cool it down a bit while we're gone" :p

Buster Hyman
10th Feb 2009, 22:22
Aww Bino's...keep this up & I'll have to take you off my ignore list! ;):p;):p Anyway, I'll happily have that beer too!:ok:

Beatriz...in the next weeks & months, we'll start to see the real stars as they rebuild their lives & communities.

Straight Up Again
10th Feb 2009, 22:40
I live pretty much in the centre of Melbourne, and still find the fires uncomfortably close.

I cannot imagine what people up there are going through.

The kinglake / Marysville area is less than an hour from my place, indeed it's a usual haunt for myself and 4 or 5 mates who take the motorbikes out every couple of weeks. Hard to comprehend the lovely places we ride through and stop for lunch at are just gone.

There are loads of inspiring stories of bravery and community, I know myself and most of my friends feel pretty helpless. We want to help, but apart from donations we feel we should do more (don't worry Buster, we know the best thing to do is stay way out of the way, but it doesn't stop us feeling that way).

If we do have PPRUNE drinks in Melb, I reckon Buster should bring his CFA crew as well. You won't need your wallets.

10th Feb 2009, 23:48
Announced on the TV this morning that at least 100 residents of Marysville have perished.

Also announced that looters are moving amongst the ruins! Can you believe it? I'd happily shoot the bastards.

Buster Hyman
11th Feb 2009, 00:10
Yeah, cops told us on Monday night to keep an eye out for looters parabellum. Even had a trailer hitched up.:mad: These things can bring out both sides of human nature sadly.

Jimmy Macintosh
11th Feb 2009, 02:14

Glad your area of ops is diminishing, and that you made it through safely. Will they redeploy you or are you staying in your current area in case of a flare up?


Keep safe where you are.

I'd buy you both a crate of beer to share with colleagues if I was in your area.

Good on ya' :ok:

Buster Hyman
11th Feb 2009, 02:22
It all depends Jimmy. The area we were in was easily accessible with Short Haul teams (drive in, 12hr shift, drive out & home). Beechworth & Gippsland fires are much further away & if we are deployed there, it would require accommodating us in some way, right at a time when there are displaced people desperate for shelter.

If it continues though, the current crews will become fatigued & we may have to go where needed. I'm back at work now, but am prepared to return if required. We'll see how the next few days pan out.

Krystal n chips
11th Feb 2009, 05:55
After reading these threads, it sort of puts the UK's little weather "event" into perspective.....ie of no consequence. I have to say I truly admire the courage of all those involved in the fire fighting and who now have to rebuild their lives......genuine heroism rather than the cosmetic variety so often presented as such.

I have a query therefore regarding the :mad:arsonists.....given the size of the area affected, how, exactly, will the police be able to determine the source of the fires for forensic analysis and how can they subsequently identify those responsible?......it seems nigh on impossible from where I am sat to even begin to gather evidence, let alone the :mad: who started these fires.

Buster Hyman
11th Feb 2009, 08:09
There's a lot of angst over this Krystal. Police are holding property owners back whislt they investigate the scenes.

I imagine that the process would be to determine the cause of death (ie the fire), and then make sure that there were no ignition sources that could have started it independantly of the main fire. Once this is established, it'll be the fire investigators that determine which fire was responsible, that way, when it's ignition source is traced to, say, a point of origin that was an arson crime, then there is a criminal death...I suppose.

Not my field of expertise, but I imagine it'd be something along those lines.

11th Feb 2009, 08:27
With a high wind it is fairly easy to pinpoint where the fire started ie just go upwind (in the direction of the wind at the time) and that will give the start point. Time is reasonably well known so who was there at the time.

In the bush people tend to notice things more than in the city.

Unfortunately my attempts at ASCII art didn't work so you will just have to think as the fire fanning out from the startpoint.

11th Feb 2009, 08:29
Heard on the news yesterday of one landowner in the worst affected area who had just been prosecuted and very heavily fined** for clearing native vegetation without a permit. His property survived; all his neighbours' properties: gone.

Someone asked earlier why large firebreaks could not be established. One reason is it would interfere with the breeding habits or migration paths of the three-eyed sulphur crested three sloth (or some such obscure creature 99.9% of Australians have never heard of). Well intentioned conservationists, many of them with little understanding of the country, have resisted controlled burn offs for years now because of the smoke pollution and the damage they perceive it does to native fauna and flora.

Some might hope this will put a stop to such protests, but I fear it will not.

The other reason, in the area of the worst fires, is the terrain. It is incredibly rugged country, nigh on impossible to 'carve up into parcels' to provide firebreaks. And the oil laden eucalypt forests, when as dry as they would be after such a long drought, are virtually explosives awaiting a lit fuse.

**The fine for the illegal clearing was $100,000. That's one hundred thousand dollars!

11th Feb 2009, 09:27
A lot of rural communities have a fair idea who the local firebugs are ... knowing is one thing, proving another. Ours is under 16 so most probably wouldn't even get a slap on the wrist from the authorities if caught in the act.

If anyone is interested in the scientific view of hazard reduction burning then look at sites like:
Biodiversity and Fire: The effects and effectiveness of fire management - Biodiversity series, Paper no. 8 (http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/publications/series/paper8/index.html)
This conference is from 1994 - a lot of the views may surprise.


Lon More
11th Feb 2009, 10:01
Ours is under 16 so most probably wouldn't even get a slap on the wrist from the authorities if caught in the act.

Try inviting him over for a deep, informal discussion with some of the victims. Point out that there are still a lot of places where the body would never be found and that should the fires flare up he will likely be the next victim.

Thanks for the link Beatriz:ok:

11th Feb 2009, 10:12
Seems I'm not alone in my comments about misguided environmentalists.
Victoria bushfires stoked by green vote | The Australian (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,25031389-24636,00.html)

This fellow says it far better than I could.


Re firebugs in small rural communities: Oceanz is spot on in saying that in all too many cases, everyone knows who the culprits are. A mate of mine had his home torched (and totally destroyed) on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago. The local police, the firies and all the neighbours are convinced they know who did it - and believe the same man destroyed four other houses in the immediate area as well. But his wife always gives him an alibi, and short of going the way of vigilante "justice", there's nothing they can do until someone catches him red-handed.

I'd suspect he'd be getting a few meaningful glances if ever he shows his face in the local township this week though.

teresa green
11th Feb 2009, 12:51
Having lived and survived three hidious fires, I took myself to the local bush fire brigade (we lived in the Hunter) and announced my intention of joining up, explaining I have a tendency to being AWOL at times due to my job, but was eager to contribute. It did not take to long to realise that this fine body of men and women were constantly stuffed around by the so called greenies and dogooders of the district. The local Aborigine elders were a good bunch of people (The Warrami) and explained we had to live with the land and not just on it, and in certain seasons (our spring and Autumn) (they have another name for seasons) we must "cool" burn as they do in the NT as this kills of weak trees and animals and the strong trees reproduce seeds and the strong animals reproduce and the life cycle goes on, now this made pefectly good sense to me, but too our local ratbags, no. As the undergrowth was reaching mammoth preportions we applied to the local council for a cool burn where with the assistance of National Parks and the removal of animals in the path of the fire, we could remove the said undergrowth and cut the risks of a major bushfire, but no, our mad little friends went to the council and had the whole thing stopped due to "damage to the pristine forests surrounding the area and damage and death to wildlife" the end result being a terrible fire in 1993 and again in 2001 which sucessfully led to the death of most Koalas in the area, the loss of 12 houses, a heap of cattle, and one lady dying of a heart attack watching her house burn. Not known for my passive ways when insensed, and after having spent some 12 hours on a striker and after looking at the terrible result, I went down to confront one of these loonies and asked her to come and look at the result of her and her ratbag mates sucessful council lobbying, her reply being "its the Lords way" I think I took on the way of Basil Faulty (from Faulty Towers) when he belted the crap out of his mini minor when it wouldn't start with a bit of tree but of course they was no tree to be had, and it was the closest I have ever come to hitting a woman. The lesson out of this is we MUST cool burn around towns, no fuel no fire, it is not always easy as rain and wind interfere during these seasons, but if the fuel is kept down the fire cannot reach the position where is becomes a fire ball creating its own mad destructive pattern, and believe me it is madness, and something you take to your grave. We are leaving the Gold Coast (where you are more likely to be mugged or robbed) and heading back to the bush, and back to the high risk of fire, but nothing but nothing in vegetation will stick its head up any closer than 200 yds from our house and yes I know embers call travel a K from a fire so I will install roof sprinklers, and probably dig a bloody great hole to get into if it happens and it probably will, going back to a high fire area, and no, no more hanging of strikers but will offer my services as the radio man (which reminds me when I was in the local brigade the closest brigade to us had a QF skipper as the Capt. and it used to crack me up when he was on radio as QANTAS 5 out of habit!) My rant is over, God bless all those poor people out there, may they find some peace as time goes on.

Flying Binghi
11th Feb 2009, 13:42
The local Aborigine elders were a good bunch of people (The Warrami) and explained we had to live with the land and not just on it, and in certain seasons (our spring and Autumn) (they have another name for seasons) we must "cool" burn as they do in the NT as this kills of weak trees and animals and the strong trees reproduce seeds and the strong animals reproduce and the life cycle goes on, now this made pefectly good sense to me, but too our local ratbags, no.

What would they know teresa green, just because the Elders rely on 50,000+ years of experience dont mean they know shite - your local greeny knows better........................:rolleyes:

11th Feb 2009, 14:03
I've moved this to somewhere else. Perhaps a bit too soon and probably not the right thread.

11th Feb 2009, 14:07
Glad things are easing for you Buster, hope it stays that way.Same for you Sisemen. One of Oz daughters mates has just found out that two of her friends have lost their lives.
If anyone wants to donate to the Red Cross it is simple and easy if you follow the guidelines posted by Beatriz on post 143..

edited to add psot number..

11th Feb 2009, 15:01
Landowner up at Moree just fined $408,000 for clearing his own land and in doing so, infringing the Native Grasses or something or other Act.

...and I was wrong in saying that the Greenies would be back in six months time trying to stop controlled burning. Apparently, (according to talkback old fart's radio) they're at it already - in *** Victoria! - appealing to Peter Garrett to "protect" native forests from controlled burning.

11th Feb 2009, 19:03
Buster, I wish we could have sent you some of the rain we got yesterday. Are things getting better?

I'm watching 'Fox New' as they seem to have the best coverage and it still looks really bad.

Hang in there. :ok:

11th Feb 2009, 19:10
Dear God, is there no end to madness - this landowner should be straight back to the courts to recover his fine on the basis of the rebuilding money he has saved the bloody state!!

11th Feb 2009, 19:25
Buster, Sisemen... my continued prayers that all of the efforts by Oz's bravest bring an end to this inferno. Stay safe.

I've sent a small contribution to the Red Cross there. Wish there was more I could do. :sad:

11th Feb 2009, 19:26
I can't believe that the greenies and the Oz courts are actively preventing people from preventing fuel accumulation -- a carpet of eucalyptus leaves is like so much gasoline covering the ground.

The stuff is going to burn sooner or later; so the only real choice is between periodic controlled burns when safe to do so as the aborigines and native Americans practised for thousands of years or wait for the inevitable conflagration:uhoh:

11th Feb 2009, 19:44
Landowner up at Moree just fined $408,000 for clearing his own land and in doing so, infringing the Native Grasses or something or other Act.

That guy was done for bulldozing a protected wetland. What the hell it has to do with the Vic bushfires is beyond me. The guy in this case should have been gaoled.

As for the greenies comment - these people are not "green" in any way. They a re crackpots.

Buster Hyman
11th Feb 2009, 20:35
Fires still going con. Where I was seems okay, but I'm just about to head back up to help put in some containment lines in case it breaks out again. Current weather is pretty cool, but the winds are pushing it along in some areas.

We need to get it back under control due to the weather heating up next week apparently.

CoF. The kindness of strangers knows no bounds.:ok: It all helps the victims.

11th Feb 2009, 21:43
Some of those who've been following events in SE Australia might be surprised by all the recent reports (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7883970.stm) that a significant number of these bush-fires were instigated by nefarious individuals, who may or not, eventually face trial accused of mass-murder.

Am I the only one who questions the reasons behind such timely accusations? As opposed to say, asking whether or not the "flee, or stay and fight" doctrine needs to be re-examined...?! That may have resulted in an avoidable loss of life? The witch-hunt commences, instead of closer examination, which might expose a lack of governmental initiative in enforcing responsibilities of land-owners (and fire-risks) in the region.

BTW, all these bush-fires - but who owns the bush?! :uhoh:

11th Feb 2009, 22:18
Airship, there's no Aussie that's surprised about that. Fire bugs. :suspect: Scourge of our society (among other people).

The advice still holds (according to some bloke in Oz) but the fires in Victoria were extreme to say the least. Some people were found in the bath filled with water... unfortunately, that's not a good idea.

The idea is that if you fight, you can put out the embers that causes the roof to ignite. Sadly, the wind was just too strong this time.

The land owners would like to do a lot more but are often restrained by well meaning but often misguided Greenies... Conservation is a great thing and the land must be sympathetically managed but.. land owners also must be able to do something to protect their houses.

The bush is either owned by the Crown aka Government or by a farmer.

11th Feb 2009, 22:24
The bush is either owned by the Crown aka Government or by a farmer. Say no more, OBE on it's way, hush-hush and all that?! :confused:

11th Feb 2009, 23:24
Sorry I don't understand your :confused: If the land isn't owned by a farmer or land owner, it's owned by the State/Crown/Government.

Nothing sinister.

teresa green
12th Feb 2009, 01:51
The idea of a 1metre wide concrete pipe closed of at one end, (essential for obvious reasons) in the back yard was brought forward after Ash Wed as it was noticed that animals survived the fire by getting into drains etc and some people survived by getting into road culverts, now while the average missus would hate something like this in the yard, and probably try to cover it in roses, it certainly has some merit for a family to hide, concrete would protect you from the heat and while it wouldn't be much fun, it beats dying. One to one and half metres wide should do the trick and length according to family needs, also noting one woman survived getting down a wombat hole, so you would have to consider it. In many countries there are cyclone shelters, they had the Anderson shelter during the blitz in England, so perhaps in a high fire area this should be considered.You could hold practice drills and make it a bit of a game for the kids, of course it would be difficult for the elderly but it is amazing how fast you can move when you have to, anyway just a suggestion, as there will be many put forward over the next few months.

12th Feb 2009, 02:03
At my workplace today (a large government dept in Canberra), firies and our social club were taking donation for the Bushfire Appeal.

By 9:30 they had collected over $20,000 and work groups are holding donate gold coin morning teas to add to it. When we add up what will be collected in our State and Territory offices I am sure it will be a very tidy sum.


12th Feb 2009, 02:13
That guy was done for bulldozing a protected wetlandI accept Moree is nowhere near Victoria, (that's why I mentioned the name of the town in my earlier post!), but suggest that the fact the farmer was fined for bulldozing native fauna has everything to do with the current situation in Victoria.

I don't know any more about the case than what I heard on the radio. The speaker said it was his own land (400+ hectares?) that had been declared protected land under new legislation protecting native fauna and flora.

Another case that was mentioned was of an elderly man who was fined $5,000 for pushing over some dead trees near his house and on his own property - by hand - because he destroyed the habitat of some ants.

My point - shared, it would seem, by others, such as Miranda Devine (see Green ideas must take blame for deaths | smh.com.au (http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/green-ideas-must-take-blame-for-deaths-20090211-84mk.html) ) is that well intentioned but horribly misguided greenies have taken over too many local councils or all too often hold the balance of power in such institutions, and thus for all intents and purposes, their opinions hold sway. Opinions which for years now have included "no controlled burnoffs".

Such people, frequently leading what many would call 'alternative lifestyles' all too often funded by fortnightly cheques or bank deposits provided to them by the long suffering taxpayer, are passionately committed to their cause and thanks in many cases to those fortnightly cheques, have far more time to devote to their cause than people who have a living to earn, (part of which goes to supplying the funds to make up the fortnightly cheques I have referred to above).

Read the Miranda Devine article above. Coming from a mainstream journalist, it's illuminating, particularly comments like: So many people need not have died so horribly. The warnings have been there for a decade. If politicians are intent on whipping up a lynch mob to divert attention from their own culpability, it is not arsonists who should be hanging from lamp-posts but greenies.See also Fined for illegal clearing, family now feel vindicated | smh.com.au (http://www.smh.com.au/national/fined-for-illegal-clearing-family-now-feel-vindicated-20090212-85bd.html) .

12th Feb 2009, 02:24
Wiley - he bulldozed the FLORA not the FAUNA.

His offence was outright destruction not fire management.

12th Feb 2009, 02:43
Teresa Green - The idea of a shelter of sorts such as the concrete pipe has it's merits, but I think the odds of surviving depend on the type of fire and the speed of it. OK I'm no expert, so if someone knows better please correct me, but I remember something from an interview in the last couple of days about survival tactics. If the fire is rapidly moving, then it will sweep through the area you are in quickly. In this case your time in the hottest part of the fire is minimal. If the fire is slow moving or stationary then you will be exposed to the hottest part for longer. The issue then is the oxygen supply, in a fast moving fire you have a better chance of surviving by staying still and letting it sweep over you and the wind means that teh oxygen supply is not depleted. In a slow moving or stationary fire the oxygen supply is quickly depleted by the flames and your chances of survival are less.
If I've got this the right way around, then a shelter at or under ground level would be an advantage in a fast moving fire by protecting you from the radiant heat. However a similar shelter in a slow moving fire would protect you from the heat but the oxygen supply may not last.

12th Feb 2009, 03:34
Buster and Siseman - I have heard via email from a friend of mine in VPol that several of the looters have been reported wearing CFA gear stolen from vehicles belonging to CFA volunteers. Is this true?

If it is then these scum bag ferals deserve to rot in hell as well. Or at best forced to face the people they have stolen from and assist in the clean up and rebuild process wearing something that identifies them as the low lives they are.

Keep up the good work - I worked on a major IT Project at CFA a few years ago and have nothing but admiration for all the career and volunteer fire fighters - you are all amazing, selfless and compassionate people.

Even my staff here in Afghanistan admire what you do - and just love the pictures, vidoe and story of Sam the koala and her fire fighting hero!

12th Feb 2009, 03:54
Speculation: I saw an interview last night where the occupants said that the embers were being forced in big numbers through the small gaps around the doors. So the actual windspeed must have been very high, and I feel that a lot of embers would have blown under the eaves and straight into the roof cavities, even with flooded guttering. Maybe Buster can give some indication of what the wind strength was on the ground.

The theory, as I have always been taught, is that you take protection in the building from the high radiant heat firefront as it passes, putting out whatever spot fires occur within the building, then after the front has passed go outside and start fighting the fire.

I was speaking with some of the local firies this morning, and they commented "hope anyone evacuating up the valleys (in a case of a big fire in this area) does so very, very early" as they really wouldn't want to meet them when going the opposite direction in heavy smoke on the narrow roads.

Wiley - describing Miranda as a serious journalist was the best laugh I have had all day.

Capt Claret
12th Feb 2009, 04:34
An article in today's Australian (newspaper, 12 Feb) quoted a university academic specialising in bush fires, suggesting that the fuel load in Victoria at the moment is the greatest it's been for 30,000 years. He also indicated that fairly recent changes in preventative burning, due to political pressure from greenies' is the major reason for the weekend's terrible results.

12th Feb 2009, 05:46
CC - Not only in Victoria - as I write this (NSW) I am looking out at a mountain only 5km away that hasn't had a hazzard reduction burn since 1982 - and even that was an arson fire, not planned. When it does go up it will look spectacular and (thankfully) fairly unlikely to affect us, but I wouldn't want to be living any closer.

To be fair, it's not only the greenies. The Eco-rats have also run down the personnel and $$$ to do enough HRB.


12th Feb 2009, 11:20
lets not jump to conclusions he was doing the state a favour.many seem to blame the "greenies" for the disastrous fires and the horrific death toll.
People move to these rural and semi rural areas to live amonst the tress and be in the bush.Anyone brought up here cannot be ignorant of what can happen here.The Australian bush burns with fury when pushed by a gale.Nothing short of a tsunami would have stopped that fire.

The man fined cleared wetlands not the dry scrub arond his home.It almost 500 hectares.

Making these charges stick is tough and the judge made it clear the damage to the land was substantial and wilful and also he failed to comply with notices issued.
Just because he owns land does not mean he can do whatever he wants to it just as city folk need approval to make alterations to their homes via local councils.We dont have to like the rules but they are there for a reason and if you work outside those regulations just like in the aircraft industry you come to grief if you break them.
many farmers now recognise the fact they must learn to live and farm sustainably.Some dont and this one looks ike paying the price.

Buster Hyman
12th Feb 2009, 14:41
Well...that was a long day. 0800-0100!!!:zzz: I did get to go back to where we were on Saturday. Didn't know what I'd feel when I got there. The house is totally destroyed of course & naturally, the whole area is unrecognisable. Never thought I needed closure, but just felt that I needed to see it. And I especially didn't want to be a sightseer in a few months' time either.

Saw Warnie today too. Didn't ask for an autograph, just a text message.... (no I didn't!) ;)

Amelia. Not heard that one, but VicPol would probably be playing that one close to their chest. What I have heard is that if we manage to grab a looter, the cops wont question what condition they are in when we hand them over....(read into that what you will, but I'd say its just a bit of bravado)

Oceanz. We are lead to believe that in the vicinity that we were in, smoke had broken through the "conversion" (???) layer and then subsequently collapsed, causing a massive shift of air. As for the actual wind speed on the ground, hard to say. The senses were copping an information overload at the time & whilst it was probably in excess of gale force, I honestly couldn't tell. I was not facing the brunt of it as I sheltered below the line of the heat shield when it hit.

ampclamp makes a valid point. The fuels on the ground around homes even now is inexcusable. Knee high grass right up to the edges of some properties' driveways. Trees right up to the house. Were not out of danger, and they certainly dont help themselves in some instances.

Just read a volunteer has passed away after spending 5 days on the line. Possibly fell asleep whilst cooking something on the stove at home. Sad.:(

12th Feb 2009, 20:09
I accept Moree is nowhere near Victoria, (that's why I mentioned the name of the town in my earlier post!), but suggest that the fact the farmer was fined for bulldozing native fauna has everything to do with the current situation in Victoria.

I don't know any more about the case than what I heard on the radio. The speaker said it was his own land (400+ hectares?) that had been declared protected land under new legislation protecting native fauna and flora.

Unlike you I do know a bit about the case. The area he destroyed is part of the Gwydir wetlands of which 90% have already been destroyed. These wetlands are pivotal for the survival of many species and have been protected by legislation for a while now. Basically he broke the law in big way and deserves everything he gets.

Buster Hyman
12th Feb 2009, 22:35

DX Wombat
12th Feb 2009, 22:57
Strewth! :eek: :ooh:

12th Feb 2009, 23:03
I'm most definitely not on the side of those who bulldoze wetlands.

In places where there's fuel accumulation, that either has to be subjected to controls or you have to prevent people from building there.

Flying Binghi
13th Feb 2009, 00:34
Bush Fires in Victoria 1851 Black Thursday

The year 1850 had been one of exceptional heat and drought. Pastures had withered; creeks had become fissured clay-pans; water-holes had disappeared; sheep and cattle had perished in great numbers, and the sun-burnt plains were strewn with their bleached skeletons; the very leaves upon the trees crackled in the heat, and appeared to be as inflammable as tinder.

As the summer advanced, the temperature became torrid, and on the morning of the 6th of February, 1851, the air which blew down from the north resembled the breath of a furnace. A fierce wind arose, gathering strength and velocity from hour to hour, until about noon it blew with the violence of a tornado.

By some inexplicable means it wrapped the whole country in a sheet of flame —fierce, awful, and irresistible. Men, women and children, sheep and cattle, birds and snakes, fled before the fire in a common panic. The air was darkened by volumes of smoke, relieved by showers of sparks; the forests were ablaze, and, on the ranges, the conflagration transformed their wooded slopes into appalling masses of incandescent columns and arches.

Farm houses, fences, crops, orchards, gardens, haystacks, bridges, wool-sheds, were swept away by the impetuous on-rush of the flames, which left behind them nothing but a charred heap of ruins, and a scene of pitiable desolation. The human fugitives fled to water, wherever it could be found, and stood in it, breathing with difficulty the suffocating atmosphere, and listening with awe to the roar of the elements and the cries of the affrighted animals.

Many lives were lost, and the value of the property and live stock destroyed on "Black Thursday " can only be vaguely conjectured..... Bush Fires in Victoria 1851 Black Thursday (http://home.iprimus.com.au/foo7/fire1851.html)

13th Feb 2009, 03:59
Just talking to a local RFS member here in Williamtown, apparently the biggest hurdle to a hazard reduction burn is the..... EPA!!!

Straight Up Again
13th Feb 2009, 04:08
Frome The Age Churchill arson suspect arrested | theage.com.au (http://www.theage.com.au/national/churchill-arson-suspect-arrested-20090213-86o3.html)
If Guilty, then give him 25 years, unfortunately that seems to be the max, not per victim.

Churchill arson suspect arrested
John Silvester
February 13, 2009 - 12:23PM
Police have made a breakthrough in Victoria's massive arson investigation with the arrest of a Gippsland man this morning.

The 39-year-old Churchill man was arrested by members of police taskforce Ignis, which has been investigating the cause of the fires.

He is expected to be charged with arson causing death.

The maximum penalty is 25 years. At least ten people died as a result of the Churchill blaze and police expect the toll to rise.

The man is expected to appear in court later today.

More to come.

Buster Hyman
13th Feb 2009, 06:32

Orlando Bloom manned the phones during last nights telethon. A guy called up and asked: "Which celebrity are you?"
"I'm Orlando Bloom."
"Oh, right...is Nathan Brown of the Tigers there?"

13th Feb 2009, 06:46
My guess would be that almost everyone in Churchill, (far too many of whom are now dead) will have known, unfortunately with only 99% certainly, who the firebug was from day one.

The same could probably be said of every small town.

The suppression order on his name will be to protect his wife or family, (if there is one).

kiwi chick
13th Feb 2009, 09:20

A bit late, sorry, I haven't been on here for a while, but let me tell you - in spite of the Trans-Tasman rivalry, I can't express to you enough how much us Kiwis are feeling for you guys at the moment.

This is truly just so tragic, and myself, friends and colleagues are all in shock at what's happened. If only "caring" could be used as a tool to help. :(

As for:

I believe everyone should have an experience like that at least once in their life.

I'm sorry, but WTF??? Have you READ any of the stories? Fathers watching their children burn in cars, husbands losing grip on their wife's hand, never to see them again?

Call me a saint, but I wouldn't wish that upon my worst enemy. :uhoh:

To you Buster, xx

unstable load
13th Feb 2009, 16:49
kiwi chick, long time!

Indeed, what a tragedy. As for the person who advocates that as an experience, even once- the mind boggles!

Buster, you and your cobbers are the best! Godspeed, mate!

13th Feb 2009, 18:28
If the Victoria authorities put their minds to it -- and some dosh -- I'm sure the Martin Mars waterbomber folks would be happy to consider a few months in Oz sunshine instead of a gray BC winter.

Flying Tankers inc. - the largest flying boats ever flown operationally (http://www.martinmars.com/)


13th Feb 2009, 19:02
Currently about USD 10,000 a day plus $1,000 per hour of operation, plus crew expenses, plus fuel, plus....

Cheap at half the price.



Orlando who?

14th Feb 2009, 02:19
Orlando Bloom manned the phones during last nights telethon. A guy called up and asked: "Which celebrity are you?"
"I'm Orlando Bloom."
"Oh, right...is Nathan Brown of the Tigers there?"

;) thats funny, so Melbourne. I'll bet he had no idea what club orlando played for!! :hmm:

14th Feb 2009, 03:16
Cheap at half the price.
Cheap at any price. :(

Roger Sofarover
14th Feb 2009, 03:18
I bloody told you so!!!!

I think the same laws should be invoked as those for looting during a time of National Crisis, the Police and Army should have a shoot to kill policy for anyone discovered committing arson.

As the courts cannot issue the death penalty, then the punishment should be Life in prison' with no opportunity for parole or release. I do not think they would last long as even the most hardened Oz criminals would see this as just as much an affront to them and their country as those who murder children. I guess the lawer of those caught will start arguing 'unsound mind' as a defence.

The police have charged someone with Arson and already his defence lawers are saying 'he is in a fragile mental state':mad::mad:

14th Feb 2009, 03:22
It won't be only his mental state that's in a fragile condition if the surviving residents of the area get hold of him.

14th Feb 2009, 11:52
I read that he was also charged with possession of child pornography.

What a charmer!

14th Feb 2009, 23:48
I heard on the news that there is a suppression order in Victoria on the suspects name.

Perhaps we should just steer clear of it and let the courts deal with it?

kiwi chick
15th Feb 2009, 01:21
Why? :confused:

It's just like any other topic open for hearty conversation and debate in JB.

We're not in Victoria.

15th Feb 2009, 02:48
G'day kiwi chick,
No prob at all discussing the fires but with the law it takes little to compromise a a trial.Lawyers would love to use that technicality.
Does here in oz anyway.

I'd hate to a see an innocent man or his family lynched , tortured or burned alive as some are openly saying or a guilty man set free because he could not get a fair trial.An online forum is I guess unlikely to swing the the law or trial but why risk it? It can be discussed without using names.Forums are cross borders and not private.The mass media is bound by these rules to protect the innocent and the families of the guilty and to try to ensure a fairer trial process.

kiwi chick
15th Feb 2009, 03:18
Fair enough, understood.

unstable load
15th Feb 2009, 09:16
I think the issue here is whether he ACTUALLY is guilty of the crime before he gets lynched.

It's actually quite amusing to see how the spelling of his name has morphed from the post that outed him to the previous frothing incarnation.
I say give justice a chance to work its way through this, and if it means we should not mention names, then so be it.

Ken Borough
15th Feb 2009, 23:04
I say give justice a chance to work its way through this, and if it means we should not mention names, then so be it.

Totally agree! How sad it is to see that Buster's rivetting yarn has been hi-jacked by a few ignorant red-necks. 'scuse the tautology but the adjective is added to underscore the nature of the tread drift. Perhaps the mods can delete the nasty posts and restore the thread to what Buster intended.

17th Feb 2009, 13:18
While the blame and name calling and threats of legal action are already starting, our overseas friends and anyone else who may be interested will find a fairly dispassionate view of that horrendous Saturday at 4 Corners Video On Demand: Two Days in Hell (http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/content/2009/20090216_fires/fires_hi.asx)

Four Corners has been Australia's premier current affairs show for nearly fifty years, but mind you, it is a production of that collection of socialist pinko hairy legged lesbian whale huggers called the Australian Broadcasting Commission, so it's probably a green conspiracy. I'm sure the good people of Pprune will be able to make up their own minds.

Well worth 45 minutes of your time.

23rd Feb 2009, 18:38
It ain't over yet - we have just received an email to say that the wife's cousin and his family have just been evacuated.

We can only hope this is precautionary and that there is less risk now than in some of the instances seen on here this last few weeks.

Buster Hyman
23rd Feb 2009, 21:35
We were well aware that yesterday had the potential to reinvigorate some of the fires that were not out & also provide the conditions for new blazes. I was up there again yesterday, but I was South of the Kinglake area. It was quiet up there & we also had some huge containment lines in place that have been built in the past fortnight. (I'll upload a photo of one soon)

New fires broke out in 2 areas. Lysterfield, which was further South of where we were, and South of Daylesford, which is North West of Melbourne. By the time they were going, it was too late for us to be redeployed over there & we had the wrong equipment anyway...(politics!):rolleyes::ugh:

Similarly to what happened to me, I believe two of our Tankers were in a Burnover & they were lost. Luckily, the crews all survived, but were injured, one severely.

The fires continue....:(

23rd Feb 2009, 23:06
Report on the radio this morning that the Daylesford fire was deliberately lit.:mad:

Stay safe Buster.

3rd Mar 2009, 18:02
Strong winds are ripping through the Australian state of Victoria, where four major bushfires are still burning.
Three thousand firefighters are battling the blazes and 2,000 more are on stand-by in case the gusts open up new fire fronts.
More at:- BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Winds stoke Victoria fire fears (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7920284.stm)

Flying Binghi
12th Mar 2009, 05:33

THE State Government has issued a warning over a fake bushfire appeal website calling for donations from the public.

The Victoria Bush Fire Fund website features photographs of the Black Saturday fires and asks readers to donate saying the money goes to the Red Cross.... more via - Warning over fake website calling for donations for bushfire appeal | Herald Sun (http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25175692-5018723,00.html)


Lon More
15th Mar 2009, 19:23
hope things are finally cooling off

compressor stall
15th Mar 2009, 20:06
Yes thanks, they sure have cooled off...however the heavy rain (1-2 inches here is heavy!!) is causing landslides as there is no vegetation to hold the soil together..... :mad:

Buster Hyman
15th Mar 2009, 22:29
Some aerial photos (http://mp3.news.com.au/hwt/zoom/index.html)...worth a look if only to see how random the destruction was.

Buster Hyman
20th Mar 2009, 06:25
Inquiry coming up. I'm fine as I was just a passenger when it all hit, but our Strike Team Leader & Crew Leader may have some tricky questions.

The local school kids all sent us messages & its covering the walls of our brigade. A number of school tours coming up I'd say... ;)

The Firey I mentioned earlier has come through & is home now. Not sure of his exact condition, but being home I'd say pretty good.

The guys we pulled out want us to come up & see them at their house. It's being bulldozed in the next few weeks & I think they want to commemorate their close call. If they allow me, I'll post some snaps later.

I met the Designer of the crew protection we sheltered in. His company , Storm King Mountain Technologies (http://www.stormkingmtn.com/index.cfm?section=1), was set up after his Brother died in a fire. He felt there wasn't enough protection for the crews. He was a top bloke & was genuinely proud that he has made a difference in his Brother's name.

Finally, my thanks to all contributors to this thread & those of you who made donations in any way, shape or form. I have felt no ill effects from the experience, but I found this thread rather therapeutical in a funny sort of way. I certainly treat training in a very different way and as we have brigade elections next month, I'm thinking of putting my hand up for a more active role.

Anyway, we all move on...."That which doesn't kill us, ...." :ok::ok::ok:

Pinky the pilot
20th Mar 2009, 11:34
I'm thinking of putting my hand up for a more active role.

I nominate Buster Hyman for whatever position he cares to take.

Is there a seconder?

Flying Binghi
24th Mar 2009, 13:12
A paper by Roger Underwood...

"THE catastrophic bushfires in Victoria this year, and the other great fires of recent years in Victoria, New South Wales, the ACT and South Australia are dramatic expressions not just of killing forces unleashed, but of human folly…" Jennifer Marohasy Victorian Bushfires: The Result of Human Folly (http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/03/victorian-bushfires-the-result-of-human-folly/?cp=1)

24th Mar 2009, 15:41
FB, Thank you for your link to Peter Underwood's excellent paper.

He talks about fuel accumulation and the fact that inevitably it will burn so that the only real choice is to arrange the burn at a time when it can be controlled.

But as with aircraft maintenance, piloting and software which are performed by professionals, business / political decisions commonly override professional judgement to the ultimate detriment of said business / political considerations.

The decision makers do not have a good record of listening to the right people.

Jimmy Macintosh
24th Mar 2009, 17:04

How can I make true my offer of buying a crate of beer for your station? Could I paypal and you pick it up?

Buster Hyman
24th Mar 2009, 21:37
Hi Jimmy.

Thanks for the offer. How about you drop it down at your local fire tation & tell them its in honour of the CFA Volunteers. Oh, and make sure you tell them where you live so they'll be extra quick if you need them!!;)


Jimmy Macintosh
24th Mar 2009, 21:53
Consider it done, that'll be their second crate in two years. Do you have a staion identifier or something so at least I can let thme know curtesy of yourselves? Otherwise CFA's it is.

I should probably just buy my brother a beer...

Buster Hyman
24th Mar 2009, 23:47
Greenvale Urban Fire Brigade. Second crate in two years? They'll probably be paralitic when you get there...firemen aren't known for their drinking prowess.....:rolleyes:

Buster Hyman
28th Mar 2009, 15:03
In the driveway with whats left behind.

This is where our Tanker was parked & whilst it was a fair distance from the house, it was still damaged by radiant heat.

The valley behind the house. You can see on the left, just above the ladder, regrowth that is well under way. There were Rosellas in the trees as well.

28th Mar 2009, 15:14
Buster - please tell us you had adequate insurance!

It won't cover for the mind games - I do know!

I hope the Rosellas come back - We are into year three after our incident

The swallows came back to the farm - but not that barn yet!

Buster Hyman
29th Mar 2009, 04:09
Not my place Frank. This was where our truck was burned over & where we pulled three guys out of the sh!t. This was their home & they put on a BBQ for us. They presented us with a plaque to commemorate the event and two of them even had tattoos mentioning us....:eek:


And yes, the Rosellas were back (http://s494.photobucket.com/albums/rr301/BiggyRat/?action=view&current=MVI_0113.flv)!

Buster Hyman
4th Apr 2009, 10:24
Didn't realise the RAAF Ap-3C Orions were up there...

Operation VIC FIRE ASSIST Victoria - Department of Defence (http://www.defence.gov.au/opEx/global/opvicfire/images/20090218a/index.htm)

Flying Binghi
20th Apr 2009, 11:50
This is a worry -

"Much has been said about government’s paying lip service to consultation particularly as it relates to land management – not only in Australia, but across the English-speaking world. But to actually exclude testimony from the recognised local experts within a community … we indeed appear to be entering a new error of rule by political bureaucracy"

Jennifer Marohasy Wise Men Excluded from Bushfire Royal Commission (http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/04/wise-men-excluded-from-bushfire-royal-commission/#more-4837)

20th Apr 2009, 22:57
Victims of February's bushfires in Victoria have complained they are being locked out of a public inquiry into the worst disaster in Australian peacetime.
More at:- BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Australia bushfire inquiry opens (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8007480.stm)

Buster Hyman
20th Apr 2009, 23:12
It's also interesting to note how the carreer fire fighters' union are flexing their muscles & making a grab for more power & staff at this time...

7th May 2009, 02:50
All around me there are people who are giving freely of their time, vehicles, trailers and tools to help replace 2000kms of farm fencing burnt out in the recent fires, they receive nothing but gratitude for their labours.
Meanwhile various authorities sit on over $300,000,000 in donations but won't give any to farmers as they are, "commercial concerns"! (Farm fencing is uninsurable against fire).

(Possibly not quite what you intended Stockie, but it needs to be aired!).

7th May 2009, 05:31

Dont get me wrong, i'm not having a go; i have already donated some unused household items to the Vic Bushfire appeal (bed, books, kitchen equipment, childrens clothing etc), but i think you have misquoted somewhere.

Firstly, i dont think there is $300 million in donations. Donations and government assistance yes, but not the whole lot. Various Authorities? I believe the Federal Government stepped in to administer the whole thing. Slow as a wet week in Melbourne no doubt, but the Govt nonetheless.

Furthermore, having worked in Insurance for night on 22 years i can tell you farm fencing CAN be insured just obviously not in the cases you speak of.

Cast me out if you will, but one of my pet peeves about the bushfires (and just so you know, my sister in law lost 2 properties and was lucky to get out alive), is the people who say "we lost everything". If you got all your loved ones out healthy, then all you lost was stuff. Devastating it might be (and Elvis forbid it should ever happen again), but if you got the family and the dog out, then be happy.

Stuff is just stuff, it will never be anything more. And let's be honest, it's not like the victims were not aware they lived in Bushfire country.

7th May 2009, 12:47
Hi Richo 77,

It is a case of crossed lines here! My post was orignially put in another thread, (Stockpickers thread about Good Things happening) and the Mods have moved here as a more appropriate place so nothing I have said is in response to anything you or anyone else has said in this thread!!!:ok:

The boundry wire between a farmers land and state, common or commonwealth land isn't insurable against fire around these parts, as a member of the local Lions club we are involved in helping where we can and pick up quite a bit of information, I -+was surprised at that one too.

Flying Binghi
24th May 2009, 07:29
Early days yet with this research, though very interesting.

Evidence of a Lunisolar Influence on Decadal and Bidecadal Oscillations In Globally Averaged Temperature Trends Watts Up With That? (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/23/evidence-of-a-lunisolar-influence-on-decadal-and-bidecadal-oscillations-in-globally-averaged-temperature-trends/)

If this comment re the 1850-1860 time frame is proven, we be in for some wild wx extremes from hot to cold -

"...Looking carefully at the sinusoidal model, what we are seeing projected for 2010-2020 are a return to conditions similar to what the model shows for circa 1850-1860,..."

From my research, the City of Melbourne, Australia, seen the highest recorded winter snows and highest recorded summer heat around the 1850-60 period.
...and in 1851 the largest bush fire in Oz in 200 years.

Some more extreme bush fire wx in the next few years perhaps...


24th May 2009, 08:17
Been off air for a few months and only just picked this up. Buster, thoughts with you mate.

Buster Hyman
24th May 2009, 09:02
Cheers BW. :ok:

I went to see the guy that designed the fire shelter in LAX earlier in the month & was incredulous to discover that we are leading the way in crew protection. Whilst I was there, 3 firefighters in the Santa Barbara fires were injured because they sought shelter in a house rather than their appliance! No protective sprays or fire curtains.

Flying Binghi
24th May 2009, 12:10

Is wikipedia corrupt ?

Via February 2009 Victorian bushfires - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_bushfires) -

"...The February fires commenced on a day when several localities across the state, including Melbourne, recorded their highest temperatures since records began in 1859..."

The wikipedia entry is a load of crap.

I do a wikipedia search for the 1851 fire - that's the largest, and hottest, Australian bush fire in the last 200 odd years...nothing, its been removed....:hmm:


Lon More
24th May 2009, 14:48
nothing, its been removed....

That's the problem with Wiki; anybody can set themselves up as an expert and edit articles to suit their own beliefs. Just reinstate the correct info.
Something similar observed in the ATC forum. A comment inserted in the entry on an accident has been accepted by some as a part of the official report

Wolfie, nice to see you back :ok:

Flying Binghi
25th May 2009, 10:48
That's the problem with Wiki; anybody can set themselves up as an expert and edit articles to suit their own beliefs...

ya right there Lon More, ...unforetunately many source wikipedia as an authoritative source - doesn't hurt to note that on many issues, IMO, wikipedia is a corrupt source...:hmm:

Buster Hyman
25th May 2009, 12:01
For those interested, footage (http://player.video.news.com.au/heraldsun/#uEItHKC3p0znzpJl2LFkbiCCb2MFY35Q) is now being released as the Royal Commission continues.

cockney steve
26th May 2009, 17:43
This may be a crass and stupid comment,-but what's wrong with burying all the vegetation instead of leaving it on the surface......I appreciate it couldn't be done anywhere much except the edges around foads, homesteads, etc. but it would then rot down(eventually) and help the soil fertility. Also it would keep the tree-huggers happy.

Buster Hyman
26th May 2009, 23:34
Well, two things Steve. There's a bluddy lot of it, and huggers & Councils want to keep the bush looking like the bush. :ugh: There are so many restrictions on the Department responsible for burning off the "fuel", that they are about seven years behind & annually short on budget.

Hopefully, things will change.

2nd Jun 2009, 22:48
Get a herd of goats to trim the excess shrubbery?

unstable load
3rd Jun 2009, 03:01
Hopefully, things will change.


Sadly they may only change after the second or third big fire because they will all be trying to convince themselves that this biggie was an anomaly and thus their theories are sound with regard to keeping the underbrush etc "au naturel".

Tree/bunny huggers are a tenacious lot and need to be beaten repeatedly with a topic before they even consider the POSSIBILITY of an alternate point of view.

3rd Jun 2009, 03:57
After a massive conflagration, the politicals put up the cash for proactive management and hire and pay close attention to what the professionals tell them.

After a decade or so of professional management makes the problem drop off the politicos (and the public's) radar screen, the bean counters get to work and start cutting budgets.

Eventually another series of major conflagrations ensues and the next generation of politicos gets the message and the cycle resumes.

Buster Hyman
3rd Jun 2009, 04:12
Well, I can fault your logic there UL. It seems though that the forecasts were getting are all indicating a similar, if not worse season ahead.:( It maybe sooner rather than later...

6th Aug 2009, 11:48
It appears that Sam the Koala who was photographed drinking from the Fireman's water bottle has had to be put down. :(

50% of koalas have Chlamydia and it appears she was too riddled with complications to be successfully operated on.

6th Aug 2009, 12:14
Sad that Sam has gone.

Remember that she got stressed in a backburn to reduce fire risk.

And Buster will tell us how much hazard reduction has been successfully completed so far this year. It remains a local, political issue.

Buster Hyman
6th Aug 2009, 12:46
Well, the councils & DSE look after that area. We get called in to assist if needed.

We have been trying to get the local council on side so that we can be there when they do some burns. It will give us practice & expose our new recruits to real fire control. So far...not a lot of response, but we're still at them.

Here is a chart (http://nremap-sc.nre.vic.gov.au/MapShare.v2/imf.jsp?site=fireplan)on the proposed burns for 2009-2012. If you're in the Macedon area, then be aware, this is a likely high risk area for fire this summer

Flying Binghi
6th Aug 2009, 13:44
Buster Hyman, i hear that statewide 1700 volunteer's quit after the big fire. If true...why ?