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Merged: Victorian bushfires

Old 9th Feb 2009, 01:24
  #21 (permalink)  
Silly Old Git
 
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Well they lose a few houses and lives in Californy as well, but at least there is an effort made.I wonder what they think when they tune into the news over there?
More influential demographic you suppose?
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Old 9th Feb 2009, 02:40
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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I just wanted to say thanks to all the dedicated guys and girls out there, airborne or not, who are giving up their time and dedicating their efforts in this horrific time. You are doing a wonderful job.

Like many here, I too witnessed Ash Wednesday and never believed that I would live to see something worse than that. Im saddened beyond belief that I have.

I believe that all of Australia will pull together to assist those most in need. If we can raise $12 odd million for a kids hospital, Im sure we can do just as well for these people, many of whom have lost absolutely everything.

Burn at the stake anyone found guilty of lighting these fires. I will personally volunteer to light the wick under their sorry asses.

Just pass me the match.
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Old 9th Feb 2009, 04:33
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Just a question,

Conservation and Land Management (CALM) in WA used to have
'flying spotters' in the bushfire 'season' over here.

With Piper Super Cubs and the like based in the country/forest areas, at least they were able to provide a 'timely' warning at the first sign of smoke.

Does the Vic. Govt or NSW Govt have a similar service??

As 'Werbil' said, 'early spotting and immediate attack' before they develop seems to be 'an' answer.

Regards.
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Old 9th Feb 2009, 04:49
  #24 (permalink)  
Silly Old Git
 
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With the greatest respect Mr Griffo I doubt there is a shortage of eyes looking out airyplane windows at any given time in Victoria, and connected by wireless to help .
Firespotting is for large remote tracts like yer Canady has
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Old 9th Feb 2009, 05:45
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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There were plenty of eyes out the window all day between YMML and YSSY...
The company even asked pilots to report a fire...
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Old 9th Feb 2009, 06:02
  #26 (permalink)  
Man Bilong Balus long PNG
 
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Fellow Ppruners should spare a thought and a prayer for an esteemed member of PPRuNe who is right in the thick of it!

Well done Buster Hyman and please take care of yourself!
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Old 9th Feb 2009, 06:02
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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My deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected by the latest round of tragic bushfires. They are already talking royal commissions, and my only hope is that the wisdom that will no doubt come from the inquiry using a range of well qualified people, is implemented to it's fullest extent. For too long we have tragedies like this occur, then talkfests that come up with sound logical plans only to be left in the too costly/too hard basket.

Please use the memory of this to ensure it doesn't happen as badly next time.

Oh and thankyou to all those who risk their lives to help others fixed/rotary/ground. The word heroes gets used a lot these days, but for some people there can be no argument.
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Old 9th Feb 2009, 09:05
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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I fly out of the Valley, and yes we have plenty of spotter machines up all equiped with CFA or DSE radios and observers. Each having there own role ie. plantation, or asset or forestry. We try to catch em early and stomp em out with the bombers and helitacks. Saturday was an extreem day. Not much you can do about that, just try to protect assets as much as possible
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Old 9th Feb 2009, 09:58
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Angel Credit where its due.

I thought I should make a mention of the crews who have been working tirelessly in the air to secure Northern Victoria's safety. I watched a sky crane yesterday through thick smoke performing what can only be described as nearly impossible and extremely brave.

These air attack crews do an often unsung job in hellish conditions. All the time for others.

We could all learn something from their actions.

Thanks from those in yellow on the ground.

DM
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Old 9th Feb 2009, 11:08
  #30 (permalink)  

Metrosexual
 
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Here, here.

To all those in the air and on the ground - thanks
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Old 9th Feb 2009, 15:02
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks doesn't seem enough for all those putting themselves on the line. Having lived in a forested area as a kid I can understand the fear of a fire... can't imagine what everyone is going through.

For anyone wanting to do SOMETHING to help, if you can't manage money or blood, Coles supermarkets nation wide are donating proceeds from all sales this Friday 13th Feb to bushfire relief funds. Hold off on the food shopping til then and we can all make a difference- they're aiming for 10 mil but I reckon they'll get a lot more than that hopefully!

Coles Supermarkets Australia Click on 'Bushfire' button lower right
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Old 9th Feb 2009, 21:43
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Grumman Trackers

A great pity that former leaders and legislators did not see the potential of converting the ex-RAN Trackers to the fire-fighting role. They were unfortunately left to rot, although I understand that some were eventually sold and are now stored at Sale.

CL-215's and 415's are not appropriate in Australia where we lack the ready water supply that large freshwater lakes in North America offer. Likewise DC-10's or B-747's would be restricted to capital city airports.

A fleet of Trackers, perhaps some Convair 580's and strategically located Air Tractor 802's are the best option. The NSCA pioneered the use of North American firebombing aircraft in the southern summer, when they would otherwise sit idle, but unfortunately this plan lost momentum with the demise of the NSCA.

Whilst the Skycranes make for good TV news, they are not suited to large scale fires. Helicopters do an excellent job of delivering very accurate drops on small scale fires in narrow valleys or close to houses, but lack the speed and payload to effectively control the type of fires we are seeing in Victoria at the moment.

Likewise water is not the only answer. In the extreme heat that Victoria has recently experienced, re-ignition is a problem when water alone is used to fight fires.

Hopefully the forthcoming inquiry into this terrible disaster will see this issue revisited, and both state and federal governments will investigate some of the options suggested above.

My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this tragedy.
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Old 9th Feb 2009, 22:44
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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It is the unfortunate reality that probably even 100 Elvis's or fixed wing aircraft wouldn't have stopped these fires.

At one point in suburbia a small grass fire wiped out 5 houses in 10 minutes. The wind and temperature had to be seen to be believed.

What capability would such aircraft have at night? The same as day? as in these fires the majority of the damage was done at night, or if it wasn't at night, it was completely dark due to the smoke.

At one stage I was down in Sale and it was pitch black at 3pm in the afternoon, completely stopping any aircraft movements and Sale was at-least 50-60 kms from the fire-front.

At another airfield the cropdusting aircraft had to be grounded due to the extreme turbulence due to the 40+ knot winds in the 46 degree temperatures.

Nasty, nasty stuff.
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Old 10th Feb 2009, 01:09
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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I wonder if there is really a firebombing system in the world that would have had any effect at all on Saturday. The energy and the fury cannot be described either by those that were in it, or those that saw it. Maybe the Beriev seaplanes might have had some impact. Anything short of that I really don't know.

Walrus
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Old 10th Feb 2009, 02:27
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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IMHO, modified C130's/Caribous/Buffalos or similar aircraft would be the ideal size - big enough to be effective with significant retardent drops yet not unweildy like a 747. The current fleet of small-scale fixed-wing and rotary aircraft should also be expanded under a co-ordinated central agency. The picture posted on the previous page shows how brilliantly the Americans do it, and in California they have similar landscape and vegetation to us. Surely this loss of life is incentive enough for us to finally get our act together with a cohesive and disciplined agency to oversee aerial firefighting on a much larger scale.

The fleet of say 5 aircraft could easily be based at 3 or 4 strategic locations statewide (say Mangalore, Sale and Horsham in Vic -Richmond, Cessnock and Canberra in NSW and Renmark and Edinburgh in SA). These are underutilised airports with good existing infrastructure, yet close enough to population bases and volunteers and seemily close to where the fires always occur.

These bases could easily have large capacity reserviours filled from nearby waterways, potentially with the inclusion of chemical dispersal agents and retardents. The aircraft simply lands, plugs in and is off again in minutes. It seems the only way to tackle such problematic outbreaks before they become uncontrollable infernos.

In these times where governments realise the need for social spending to stimulate the economy, surely this would be the most worthy of causes. If money is ever quoted by fiscal naysayers as an issue (and these people will pop up), then send the fleet overseas during our winter to recruit some $. However, I would have thought with a death toll approaching 200 that would be incentive enough.
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Old 10th Feb 2009, 03:23
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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Sadly a young JQ First Officer has lost the lot. He saved wife, kids and pets but has lost his house, car, his log books , and all personal items wedding photos etc , just left with what he is standing up in. So dig deep guys, I am sure Jetstar crew and ground staff will do as much as they can to support him and family, just another tragedy as it all unfolds, but pretty certain we are going to hear more bad news regards airline crew, but am hoping not.
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Old 10th Feb 2009, 05:34
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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5000 or so now homeless in Victoria.
There are dozens of vacant houses at RAAF Williams (Point Cook), plus all the accommodation blocks, and no doubt kitchens, dining halls, laundries, etc - and all going to waste, EMPTY.
How can we get the government to open these up NOW?
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Old 12th Feb 2009, 13:27
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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I doubt there is a shortage of eyes looking out airyplane windows at any given time in Victoria, and connected by wireless to help
One of the problems with reporting though the aviation comms system is the time that it takes the message to reach the brigades that deal with it. I'm sure the situation has improved dramatically now, but back in the mid 90's I reported one fire in summer on the beginning of a scenic flight that was in my local brigade area. I continued on the flight, landing about half an hour later. As I walked the guests back into the office my pager went off - first page for that fire from my call. After that experience I always used the mobile when I could.

Specific locations are critical - I also remember one fire report from an airliner on approach into ML. The location - somewhere in the Grampians - an area 100km long by 50km wide.

On bad days CFA/DSE put up aircraft on patrol to spot fires that have just started, in addition to their tower network.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 00:41
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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Why not the Trackers???

1. almost same water capacity as the air tractor
2. obsolete design with no support
3. cost per litre of water dropped
4. how much work would be required to certify after 20+ years on the ground
5. turn around time drop to reload
6. landing areas, is it able to use dirt strips?
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Old 11th Jun 2009, 12:10
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Looked for a thread on the commission activities and found nought.
here is just one story today which needs to be treated with dismay.

i guess anyone who wants to petition the commission to appear should try to do so if they have some constructive comments.
CFA lawyers object to criticism of fire chief

By Jane Cowan
Posted 10 hours 30 minutes ago
Russell Rees believes the CFA met its obligations to warn the community on Black Saturday. (AAP: John Woudstra, The Age/Pool)


The legal team for Victoria's Country Fire Authority (CFA) has objected to the way the fire chief, Russell Rees has been questioned at the Royal Commission into the Black Saturday bushfires.
The CFA's chief officer has now been in the witness box for three consecutive days.
The legal counsel representing the CFA, Neil Clelland SC told the hearing there had been implied and express criticism of both Mr Rees and the CFA without any opportunity to respond.
Mr Clelland objected to the manner in which the counsel assisting the commission, Jack Rush QC has questioned the fire chief.
Mr Clelland said the Royal Commission's purpose was not supposed to be to blame anyone but that the questioning of Mr Rees was inconsistent with that stated purpose.
The commission chairman Bernard Teague allowed the questioning to proceed.
Earlier today, Mr Rees told the hearing he believes the CFA met its obligations to warn the community on Black Saturday.
Mr Rees had previously admitted there were "system failures" that meant warnings to the public were less than ideal on February the 7th.
But this morning, Mr Rees said he believed the fire agencies had "tried their hardest" to meet their obligations to warn people.
Under questioning by Mr Clelland, the fire chief went further and said the fire agencies did more than try, they succeeded.
Mr Rees said he was the type of person who always tried to do better, but he did believe the fire agencies had successfully warned the community about all fires except the Kilmore East blaze.
The commission was told Black Saturday could have been a lot worse if it was not for the efforts of the CFA.
The CFA's legal team said fire agencies were successful in suppressing many of the bushfires.
Mr Rees said a fire that broke out at Upper Ferntree Gully at the base of the Dandenongs, for instance, could have been disastrous if firefighters had not managed to put it out.
The Black Saturday bushfires killed 173 people and left thousands more homeless.
The commission has three months to deliver its interim report.
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