Kanjini News

21st October 2018

Wildfire coming in

We had a battle on our hands with this one. On 21st October, Pauli noticed that a fire just started next to neighbor's shed and went over to help. While they were busy stopping it from burning their hay bales and shed, the fire made it across neighbors field and then jumped into our place. Luckily we had immediate notice and called 000 and our rural fire brigade and swung into action. The first fire-fighting units managed to back-burn along an internal road from the lake to the houses and across the top of the bottom horse paddocks above the houses just in time before the fire front got to that track.
For a while it looked like we had it contained, but then when the fire front got to the track we back-burned from, it managed to jump the containment line due to the rather high winds blowing embers across it. So now we had a much larger job at hand. Luckily the call for help was heeded by 4 urban units and at 10 rural fire units, so there was plenty of help.
First we had to back-burn from the bottom of the gully behind the houses towrds the south, with several units standing by to extinguish anything coming up the northern slope towards the houses.
Because the commanding officers were concerned that with the strong wind the fire might jump emerald creek itself, they sent about twenty fire-fighters on foot through very rough country to back-burn for about 1.5 to 2 km along emerald creek all the way to camp 5. The rural fire units then back-burned along the road to camp 5 and by about 9pm with the help of the slight increase in moisture, the decrease in wind and cooler temperatures it finally looked like we managed to rein this wild-fire in.
Next day the Davies creek rural brigade came out and helped us to clean up lots of potential sources of sparks and burning trees which could have fallen across containment lines. Inside of the burnt area, the fire was getting quite lively again, but it remained contained. For several days we kept a close watch and for example on day five we found another tree which fell and was slowly burning across the containment line. On day seven in the gully just behind the houses a tree fell and started burning again, luckily our tenants noticed and were quick enough to douse it with lots of buckets of water. Even two weeks after the fire did we find one more fallen tree still burning inside near the creek.
It was a big learning about how fast a fire can spread and move, which grasses burn very hot and which ones seem to burn patchy, how long after the fire we can still have potential re-ignition or sparks flying across containment lines.
While the houses and sheds were saved, we did have some major losses.

  • We lost a lot of irrigation infrastructure like large solonoid valves and kilometers of pipes and sprinklers,
  • a lot of lychee trees,
  • years of mulch
  • kilometres of fencing,
  • we had to refund some campers and lost some bookings due to some of the camp sites being rather black
Here are some pics of the fire and its aftermath...

Lake overflow
view from filter-shed down towards the houses

Heading along main raod towards camp 4 turnoff

  the fire-front coming down towards the houses

backburning behind the houses

looking from in front of main house towards big dam

back burning down the dam wall

Two urban units refilling at lake side

headquarter in front of main house - rallying the troops

backburning along the creek

the surroundings of camp 4 got burnt, but the toilet survived!

backburning from camp 5

almost impossible to spot, but this tree was still burnign on the inside

here that tree's stump is still smouldering after the tree being cut down and removed. It could have fallen across the track and started the fire again on the other side of the containment line

this tree had already fallen across the containment line

and was burning towards it....
Its important to be vigilant and patrol the containment lines

these 4" solonoid valves and other fittings are not cheap...
these lychees looks rather sad and so does the water pipe and sprinklers

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