How Woronora Fire Boat Bravo is being used in the NSW Fires

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As smoke and fire continue to dominate Australia, a fairly unique scene played out at Warragamba Dam. One of the fireboats from Woronora Rural Fire Brigade, Boat Bravo, was transported to the dam wall and lowered into the water in an effort to bolster resources at the Green Wattle fire. Here’s how a Woronora Fire Boat Bravo is being used in the NSW Fires!

For the last 10 days, the vessel has been deployed into the dam to provide remote firefighting and recon capabilities. Crewed by firefighters from Woronora station, they have been undertaking fire operations as well as reconnaissance and intelligence gathering as the mammoth Green Wattle fire continues to tear through the catchment areas.

Providing up to 8 firefighters, the firies from ‘Wonny’ have been snapped up by operations to complete fire attack, dry firefighting, tactical backburning and pumping operations for long hose lengths along the flank of the fire.

In addition to their own crew members, Boat Bravo has been able to insert and retrieve remote area firefighters to work away in difficult to access locations.

The fireboat offers a unique set of capabilities for operations, like navigation and logistical transport in little to no visibility with the added bonus of FLIR video for recon purposes. It is also facilitating the transportation of firefighters to remote locations to undertake dry firefighting. Oh, and they are literally floating on a giant water supply – so laying down hose for fire attack is their bread and butter.

At present we use FLIR to navigate in low visibility, search and locate fires. We have used the camera for a lot of recon and intel work where the smoke is hiding the fire from visual observation. The camera has a great field of view and zoom, so we can monitor large areas.  There are limitations in that you have to be able to see it to monitor it, plus you need enough heat to stand out from the background.

For example, the spot over that when on to impact in the Oaks area, we were able to see that and reported that in.  We were the only unit in the area, as aviation was working elsewhere.  It gave them time to get resources in place.

Woronora Rural Fire Brigade

You can see just how big this fire is – at the time of writing this post, the fire had burnt out over 130,827HA.

What a great asset to have in the field, providing tools and capabilities that wouldn’t normally be available. Great work to everyone who has worked off old Boaty Mc Boat Face. Stay safe!

If you would like to read a bit more about what exactly Boat Bravo has to offer, check out the post below.

Thanks to the Captain of Wonny for all the photos and info!




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Deano

I founded Flashover to promote Australian Firefighting. I've been a volunteer and a paid firefighter but now I spend my time chasing up leads, promoting good mental health and making the occasional Grumpy Firecom comic!

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