That Didn't Take Long
Posted: Thu, 4 October 2007 | permalink | No comments
Although I predicted that I'd be a busy boy with my bushfire brigade on Tuesday, I wasn't expecting to get our first "Bush Alight" fire call so quickly. But, yesterday (Wednesday), a few minutes after 1800, off goes the pager, and off I go to the station.
Thankfully the high winds that had been a major feature of the day had settled down quite a bit, so it was relatively easy to control and stamp out (we were back at the station by around 2015) I still found it a little overwhelming -- "I'm supposed to help Stop This Fire". At a couple of hectares in size, it wasn't too massive, and it wasn't visually "spectacular" (like the fires you always see on the news) but still... given that my only experience of fire in the past has been small campfires and the occasional bonfire, having an area the size of a football field in front of you glowing with embers and flaring with small clusters of flames, it was certainly a very different experience. The heat, the smoke, the noise (those truck pumps are loud), and the adrenalin, it's a hell of a mix.
Being that I'm the newest and least experienced crew there, I got given the unglamourous but important job of controlling traffic, as we had one lane of the one-each-way 100km/h road closed to give our crews more working space around the trucks. Let me just say that I now have an infinitely greater respect for road repair crews, and I think that every person should do an evening of traffic control with a group of their mates on the road behind them, so that they know what it feels like outside their car. Car drivers do the darnedest things.
So, I've popped my bushfire-fighting cherry now, and I'd be more than happy if there's nothing more impressive than that awaiting me for the rest of the season.
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