Thursday, July 14, 2011

Burning Money?

A couple of days ago I posted about a wildfire started by an act of god, inevitable in the eyes of many and a tragedy for a few.

I have no idea of how much was spent by a bunch of amateurs some very well paid, in a fruitless attack on many Ha of mature gorse in galeforce winds with no firebreaks. It would have gone beyond a quarter of a million at least.
Using up to seven choppers, six with monsoon buckets and one as a command post and traffic control.

Over Tues/Wed night the attack was abandoned at dark and by dawn Wed had largely burnt to the boundary or self existinguished with the cold or had reached the edge of the gorse on three fronts.The southern front had died in the Stony Creek gully, the Eastern front ran out of gorse when it reached the grazed pasture land on the boundary and the northern front had extinguished when it reached areas where the gorse had much higher levels of Broome and native component.

That left a very active Western front of around 600m burning in dry 20yo pure gorse. The all dressed up for the battle "experts" then made overflights and held meetings and decided to fight it.
With seven choppers using mostly clean water with no retardant they tried to put it out for around 5 hours and only succeeded when it reached the natural break where the property had been forced to clear a 10 m strip.

As an old bugger who has seen and at times fought such fires, here was a classic case of let it go, prepare a defense line and marshall the resources to make that stick. No the wizzards at spending someone elses money allowed the adrenaline to take over and spent the next five hours in a fruitless attack that only worked when the edge was reached.

Terrific for the chopper companies, dead boring for most of the largely volunteer ground crews watching some amazing flying as they dipped water out of a dam and barely utilised the 1500 liters in the "Plastic Dam" set up some two Kms from the fire.

Sorry my very ordinary Pics are in a following Post, still coming to grips with the science and technology.

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