This is an amazing tale of 6 firefighters in Western Australia defending an exploration camp of 117 men against a 160,000 hectare fire that threatened the entire camp and bulk fuel storage depot!
This fire was started by lighting the day before remembrance day 2017 out in a remote location of Western Australia. The fire was left unattended due to the sparse location, but an unplanned wind change pushed the fire towards an exploration camp which was home to 117 men, who had no firefighting capabilities.
We spoke with Aden, one of the firefighters who attended that day.
I was living in Paraburdoo when we received and urgent call out to Koodaideri, which was around 2 hours away. We could only muster up 2 people so off we went in the light tanker. By the time we got there the fire was 2km from the camp and burning fast. Once we arrived at the camp there were 2 crew from ERT at hope downs mine in a medium pumper who got sent straight to work.
DFES were stretched thin with fires breaking out all over the state, so there was no additional appliances following us. We managed to wet all the buildings and get everyone in the camp into the mess hall as the fire came over the top of us on 2 sides – we held it off for 2 hours until another 2 crew arrived from Tom Price mine. We held the fire off every building with 3 appliances and 6 people for 24 hours. The camp also contained around 160 200 litre drums of avgas!
** Language Warning (and rightly so!)
Now that is one hell of a story and what an effort those crews put in. Outstanding work by all involved and not a single life or major structure lost. Aden went on to tell us that the only thing that suffered damage was the rainwater supply line!
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