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Rural Brigades help at coast fires
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 23 November 2006
Last Thursday night, when most of us were sound asleep, members of our local Rural Fire Brigades were risking their lives to save lives and homes.

Caloundra was surrounded by flames and smoke blanketed across the coast skies.   One of the worst bush fires in memory was raging out of control.

Above: Montville Rural Fire Brigade volunteer Craig Farmiloe received the call and headed out at 6pm.   “We took the two medium attack vehicles from Montville.   And I did a nine hour shift.   Our crew put in a full day Friday as well”.
 

Residents from aged care homes were evacuated with many residents being treated for smoke inhalation.   The airport was evacuated, many roads were blocked and by mid afternoon Thursday, the fire had jumped from bushland into the prestigious Pelican Waters Estate.

Montville Rural Fire Brigade volunteer Craig Farmiloe received the call and headed out at 6pm.   “We took the two medium attack vehicles from Montville,” said Craig “And I did a nine hour shift.   Our crew put in a full day Friday as well with one wagon.”

Craig, who with wife Leanne owns the Bower Bird of Montville has been a volunteer with the brigade since 2001.   “I love the camaraderie,” he said, “We have 14 active members, men and women and everyone gets on well.   I joined as a way to give something back to the community.”

Fire crews from across the coast and Brisbane were called in to assist in the Caloundra fires.   100 ground crew and two water bombing helicopters fought to control the blaze.

“Our crew mainly attends stack burns, where residents burn off their rubbish or hazard reduction for large property, but we do get called out to the larger fires like the Coolum and Obi Valley fires of recent years.”

Last year the Montville brigade averaged two to three call outs a week in the peak of fire season.   “The rain has helped keep that number lower this year,” said Craig, “with only a couple a month so far this season.”

It is thought that a lightning strike from the previous day’s storms may have started the Caloundra fire.


A water bomb crew collects water
 on Thursday.

Police praised the fire officers who worked tirelessly to ensure there were no injuries or loss of homes.

“We always keen for new members” said Craig.   “Not just to attend the fires, but as back up, such as catering and looking after the needs of those out in the action.”

New members attend some of their training with Maleny Rural Fire Brigade. “We meet the first Monday and the last Wednesday for training,” said Craig.   If you’re interested in finding out more, contact your local Rural Fire Brigade or in Montville, call Mark Roderick on 0409 480 058.

What can you do to help?

Rural Fire Brigades work hard to protect Queensland from the disaster of Bush fires, but they cannot do it alone.    The help of all of the community is needed.    If you live in a bush fire prone area you can reduce the risk of bush fire damage by property protection measures such as clearing dead leaves, high grass and undergrowth around the property and maintaining a firebreak.

You should also know what to expect in major fires, know what to do if fire threatens and cooperate willingly with the fire fighting authorities.    Bush fires can be prevented by using fire carefully and following the rules during Total Fire Bans and the Bush Fire Danger Period.

In an emergency call 000.



Last Updated ( Thursday, 23 November 2006 )
 
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