Bushfire dugouts.

In addition to building dams and water points, the Stretton Royal Commission recommended expanding the use of bushfire dugouts. Well-constructed dugouts had saved the lives of many sawmill workers and their families during the 1939 bushfires. But in some locations, they had proved fatal. Dugouts became mandatory for those few sawmills that remained in theContinue reading “Bushfire dugouts.”

Russell Grimwade Prize for Forestry.

Wilfrid Russell Grimwade was born in 1879, knighted in 1950 and died in 1955. He led a remarkable and diverse life by any measure. He was a chemist, botanist, industrialist and philanthropist. He also had a passion for science, appreciation of art and sense of obligation to the community. An early motoring enthusiast he wasContinue reading “Russell Grimwade Prize for Forestry.”

Fire Dams & Water Points.

Building fire dams was another of the many recommendations of the Stretton Royal Commission after the 1939 bushfires. The Forests Commission annual reports give a clue to the increase in the numbers over the years. There were no fire dams reported in 1939-40, but by the time that the Forests Commission ended and became Conservation,Continue reading “Fire Dams & Water Points.”

Ash Wednesday 1983 – Bushfire mosaics.

There is a common belief that even the slightest bushfire in mountain ash forests (E. regnans) is catastrophic and uniformly kills every tree in its wake. It’s true that mountain ash is very susceptible to bushfire, but the story is not that simple. Fire behaviour and intensity depends on many things, like forest type andContinue reading “Ash Wednesday 1983 – Bushfire mosaics.”

AIIMS – Incident Control System (ICS).

In July 1983, the Forests Commission ran a three-day staff workshop to review the previous calamitous bushfire season. The formation of the Department of Conservation, Forests, and Lands (CFL) had only just been announced at the time of the meeting. Police Commissioner Mick Miller’s Inquiry, and Coroner Anthony Ellis’s probe into Ash Wednesday were alsoContinue reading AIIMS – Incident Control System (ICS).

Cann River campaign fires – 1983.

Most focus and media commentary about the 1982-83 bushfire season naturally centres on the deadly Ash Wednesday fires of 16 February 1983 when 75 people were killed in Victoria and South Australia. But in the far east of the State, and largely unreported by mainstream media, the Forests Commission Victoria (FCV) and CFA faced twoContinue reading “Cann River campaign fires – 1983.”

Bright Plantation Fire – 1982.

Maybe it was an ominous foreboding of a long fire season ahead for the CFA and the Forests Commission Victoria (FCV). Major bushfires broke out in November 1982 at Seaton, Murrindal and Mt Elizabeth in Gippsland, as well as the mallee desert and Mt. Disappointment near Broadford On Wednesday 24 November at 2.00 pm aContinue reading “Bright Plantation Fire – 1982.”

Ash Wednesday 1983 – Warburton.

The Upper Yarra Fire #12 erupted on Ash Wednesday, 16 February 1983, on the slopes of Mount Little Joe near Millgrove at 7.20 pm and quickly progressed under the influence of the strong north westerly wind. Also often known as the Warburton or Powelltown Fire, it was first spotted by Jon Gwilt in the Briarty’sContinue reading “Ash Wednesday 1983 – Warburton.”

Ash Wednesday 1983 – Cockatoo.

Cockatoo is a small village nestled into the southern foothills of the Dandenong Ranges were the suburbs meets the bush. Narrow gravel roads and modest fibro homes characterised the settlement. The Cockatoo fire began late afternoon at 7.28 pm on Ash Wednesday 16 February 1983, about four hours after the blaze at Belgrave South. ItContinue reading “Ash Wednesday 1983 – Cockatoo.”

Ash Wednesday 1983 – Belgrave / Upper Beaconsfield.

On Ash Wednesday 16 February 1983, at 3.24 pm, a bushfire started on Birds Land near Mount Morton Road at Belgrave Heights. There had been concerns expressed in the months before the fire about the fuel loads by the CFA to the local Sherbrooke council which owned the block. The temperature at 2.00 pm atContinue reading “Ash Wednesday 1983 – Belgrave / Upper Beaconsfield.”

Ash Wednesday 1983 – Otways.

A day of Total Fire Ban (TFB) was declared for Victoria at 06.30 am on Ash Wednesday, 16 February 1983. Forests Commission Victoria (FCV) firetowers at Peters Hill, Crowes and Mt. Cowley were up early from 09.00 am in expectation of a bad day, and all crews were in their depots on standby. Under provisionsContinue reading “Ash Wednesday 1983 – Otways.”

Ash Wednesday – 1983, East Trentham & Macedon.

A day of Total Fire Ban (TFB) was declared for Victoria at 06.30 am on Ash Wednesday 16 February 1983, and Forests Commission Victoria (FCV) crews were kept close to the depot at Trentham with the intent that everyone would be back in the yard by midday. Peter Brown was the Trentham District Forester andContinue reading “Ash Wednesday – 1983, East Trentham & Macedon.”

Major bushfires for the Forests Commission in 1982-83.

1982-83 was a long and hectic fire season for the Forests Commission with 823 fires and the total area burnt of 486,030 ha, which was well above the 11-year average of 141,000 ha. Ash Wednesday on 16 February 1983 was only part of the story. The main fires within the Fire Protected Area (FPA), whichContinue reading “Major bushfires for the Forests Commission in 1982-83.”