Thursday, September 6, 2012

this time last year

Do you remember what you were doing this time last year, around this date? I do. And then I found myself, yesterday afternoon, doing pretty much the same thing. I do hope this isn't going to become a bad habit!

Yesterday my FIL was working on his bulldozer at the back of his property, clearing a fenceline. We've had a long, frosty winter, and the grass is as dry as a chip potato, and so when he sent off a spark from driving over a rock, a fire started, about lunchtime.

Calls were made, arrangements sorted, and at around 230pm I headed off in our new-to-us rural fire board fire truck, following The Husband. I had my phone in my pocket and was able to snap this as I drove along.

After getting to the paddock where the fire was (which sort of felt like going to Townsville via Cairns, winding my way there around the back paddocks) we found the inlaws and the neighbour, with FIL putting in fire brakes on the bulldozer to try and contain the fire to the one paddock.

IMG_0115(having a meeting to discuss attack plans)

The Husband and I drove about for a bit, studying the fire and where it was, and where it wasn't meant to be, the fire truck getting some action. I drove, he hosed. Me and my little yellow truck get along just fine, I don't think there is anywhere that little truck can't go. But ROUGH. My aching kidneys. Actually, my aching everything!

We did a little back burning:

IMG_0129to stop the rest of the fire from jumping the break in front of it...below here it comes to meet the break.

IMG_0141  We drove around some more, filled up our water tank again.

IMG_0162(nice looking trough there. Better than filling out of a dam)

IMG_0148lacking a chain saw, hosed down a tree that would fall over the graded track and ignite the other side if left to burn unchecked.

Did a bit of bush bashing and hosing down bits that had ventured into the next paddock. Repeat. And repeat again.

IMG_0172   Tried to take a photo of the sun setting through the smoke, the colours were glorious.

IMG_0179Started another back burn while the wind was in our favour, and then around and around, and up and down, back and forward...and hey, that's not meant to be there. In the dark, The Husband decreed he would drive, so hanging on by tooth and nail on the back of the truck, pointing a high pressured hose, we scrambled over some pulled country to stop the fire from burning into the buffell country. Thankfully, buffell grass is slow burning and reasonably easy to put out, so with a bit of extreme 4WD-ing in the dark, and of course, rather handy water hose wielding, the outbreak was brought under control.

I didn't take any photos after dark, as it really was a dark dark night. About 8pm I found a sweet spot with some phone coverage and organised my brothers (neighbours-once-removed to my inlaws, to come over and help patrol the breaks for a couple of hours). My FIL is a diabetic (type 2), and hadn't had anything to eat since morning smoko, and had been on the bulldozer since the fire broke out, til dark.  He was absolutely exhausted, so when the fresh troops arrived, we sent him and my MIL home. I was sent with my BIL, who had just arrived home after a 10 hour drive from a bull sale (bought his bull at a bargain price, he tells me) to pick up his tractor-towed-grader-thingy from a dam nearby, so graded breaks could be reinforced (tractor has lights, bull dozer did not!) After which time, at around 11:40 pm I was sent home.  I arrived back at home at about 12:30 and into bed, after faffing about  and showering off layers of dirt, dust and smoke grime, at 1.40am.

The kids, during all of those, were calmly taken over by the teacher-aide (they played around the back streets of town all afternoon with the rest of the town kids, and then were fed) after which our indomitable Miss Mac took over, bringing them home for bath (and apparently great quantities of icecream, whipped cream and strawberries?!!) and bed, and set up camp on the couch for the evening. She wandered home when I got home. Got to love small communities and good friends who don't blink an eyelid about this sort of thing. (kids so not bothered and quite excited about the change in routine and getting away with blue murder!)

Don't know why, but I'm a bit tired today. Although exceptionally pleased I did not have to perform leg origami sleeping in the front of a ute this time. Although, after the pounding that my dear little truck gave me, I'm not sure I'm all that much better off!


  1. Yikes! We have the cyclonic winds and power outages - but that is better than fire ANY DAY!
    Get some rest woman!

  2. Oh dear! Smoke around these parts today also, don't know where ... as long as it's not here I guess.
    Nice trough indeed!
    BIL wasn't coming from the Rocky Brangus Sale by any chance was he?
    Hope you've all got an early night ahead of you this evening, and that is your first and last fire experience for the season.

  3. Good on ya mate, can't beat those bushie chicks.

  4. Lovely yellow truck that you have. Hope all is under control now and that is the last you need that truck for a while. Kids are so adaptable and love to feel they can look after themselves

  5. What are these Newman cuts going to do to your fire service up there? Get 'em sorted Sharon.


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