NSW Rural Fire Service firefighters last weekend around Sydney put a big effort into hazard reduction burning with forecast rain ahead looking to close the window for these burns in the foreseeable future. There is a fine balance of weather that allows the fuel to be dry enough to burn cleanly, without temperatures and winds being too high to maintain adequate control.
In the Warringah district in Sydney’s north, a number of large scale burns took place with assistance of strike teams from around Sydney and helicopters assisting with observation, fire ignition and water bombing. On Sunday, the Warringah Catering Brigade provided over 300 meals to crews for breakfast and again for lunch. Local SES members were utilised in a logistics role to assist delivery of meals and other supplies as required. Firefighters from National Parks and Wildlife, as well as Fire & Rescue NSW also attended the various burns.
I attended a burn in the vicinity of Matthews St, Davidson where local crews were assisted by a strike team from the Macarthur Zone which included tankers and crews from Narellan, Hoxton Park, Catherine Field, Lynwood Park and Minto Heights. They were later also assisted by 3 stations from FRNSW and a helicopter as needed which also worked other burns in the District. This burn was a very strategic burn providing a buffer between a large area of National Park and the edge of the suburb, which included many houses backing directly onto bushland.
Crews faced some tough conditions with local winds causing them to work in heavy smoke conditions and hampering planned lighting patterns.
Ground crews were assisted from the air, with the NSW RFS owned ‘Firebird 200’ conducting observation runs to keep the Incident Management Team informed of progress and conditions. They also conducting aerial ignition, deploying small incendiary devices to areas of the fire difficult or unsafe to access on foot to assist with progression of the burn.
While this burn in Davidson was occurring, the local district was also conducting other burns in Elvina Bay/West Head, Allambie Heights, Manly Vale and Ingleside. Several additional aircraft operating across these burns resulted in the establishment of a local airbase for refuelling and staging of the aircraft.
Terrey Hills Pumper provides fire protection during refuelling of Helitack 273
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