Eastern Australia is burning
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Thread: Eastern Australia is burning

  1. #1
    SOH Staff .."Bartender" AussieMan's Avatar
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    Eastern Australia is burning

    Unseasonably hot weather in early November has meant our bushfire season is well under way. Last month it was the northern part of the state that was ravaged by fires and now it is the East Coast.

    Unfortunately one person has died and 30 people injured including 19 firefighters. Also on the Mid North Coast fires 100 homes have been destroyed.

    11 of the fires are at Emergency alert while several others are at watch and act level. A large air force of helicopters, LATs and VLATS are being used to help fight these fires.



    Cheers
    Pat


    "Some people might say that freedom is being alone in the bush with the only sounds being the murmurs from the birds ... but I believe freedom is at 5000 feet with no other sound than the engine roaring."- William Hutchison, a young man taken from us far too young (16).

  2. #2
    Senior Administrator PRB's Avatar
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    Godspeed and safety to all involved out there!
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  3. #3
    Stay safe Pat. California has been burning for weeks now, and it looks like it's the new normal. Arizona, where I live, has been lucky this year with no super large fires, but smoke from various fires has drifted into the Phoenix metro area a few times. Being a postman I'm out in the weather every day, so crappy air quality makes for difficult breathing.
    Expect banging, belching and an occasional manly fart as you roar down the runway at full power. (I have found that the engine can make similar noises)

  4. #4
    SOH Staff .."Bartender" AussieMan's Avatar
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    An update to my morning original post.

    Fatalities: 2

    Injuries: 30

    Missing: 5

    Homes destroyed 150.

    Not looking good with more extreme weather on the way and as people in California will understand large fires can create their own weather and winds. There have been reports of fires spotting up to 20 kilometers ahead of the main fire.


    Cheers
    Pat


    "Some people might say that freedom is being alone in the bush with the only sounds being the murmurs from the birds ... but I believe freedom is at 5000 feet with no other sound than the engine roaring."- William Hutchison, a young man taken from us far too young (16).

  5. #5
    California's biggest problem, other than the actual fires themselves, of course, is binary in nature: First, the eco/green warrior types have made sure that there's a huge fuel supply for the fires to utilize by preventing any sort of forestry management, including clearing anything that will burn out of the forest areas by anyone, making firebreaks of any kind, or using controlled burns to keep the trouble reduced.

    Second, the PG&E electrical infrastructure is as old as the hills, and not maintained at all. That might cost PG&E a little bit of their profits! Can't have that. A little breeze comes up, the wires wave around and fall, or just move around enough, sparks fly, lots of fuel available (see problem the first), and away the fires go.

    Yes, the LA basin has a problem every year when the Santa Anna winds blow, but if the first problem were addressed, they wouldn't have any fuel to start burning. Or less, anywho, and firebreaks would help the firefighters greatly in their jobs. Can't have those though! They aren't "eco-friendly"! So, the fires caused by the Santa Annas spread widely, and rapidly, humans have moved into the area's they usually burn, so their houses are destroyed, and if the humans don't, or can't, leave fast enough, well, you have casualties.

    I was stationed in El Toro MCAS for a year, back in '79, so I have experienced the Santa Annas. They were harsh, for California, but back then the eco rules weren't in place yet, so the fires were relatively small, and easily contained. Then they just let them burn the fuel they had available, and problem solved. Home owners were able to clear their yards, make fire breaks, etc. Not anywhere NEAR the problems they have with the fire now. Those winds are harsh though. At least I thought so, until I got stationed at MCAS Yuma...

    Sorry all, /rant off.

    I wish the firefighters all the best, and all the others involved, California OR Australia, as well.

    Stay safe...

    Pat☺
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  6. #6
    SOH-CM-2019 SPman's Avatar
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    Sounds just like here.

    3 dead so far, 150 houses destroyed and "catastrophic conditions" forecast for Tuesday/Wednesday reaching down to Sydney. I can think of better ways for the West Coast USA and Australia to be twinned, than the increasing severity of fire conditions......

    Living on a 10 acre block, we have to provide access firebreaks around the boundary of our property, and clean up, mow paddocks etc, to reduce burnables to hopefully, manageable levels, yet the local council leave the road verge covered in tree debris and vegetation - we aren't allowed to touch it!

  7. #7

    Reply...

    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomTweak View Post
    California's biggest problem, other than the actual fires themselves, of course, is binary in nature: First, the eco/green warrior types have made sure that there's a huge fuel supply for the fires to utilize by preventing any sort of forestry management, including clearing anything that will burn out of the forest areas by anyone, making firebreaks of any kind, or using controlled burns to keep the trouble reduced.

    Second, the PG&E electrical infrastructure is as old as the hills, and not maintained at all. That might cost PG&E a little bit of their profits! Can't have that. A little breeze comes up, the wires wave around and fall, or just move around enough, sparks fly, lots of fuel available (see problem the first), and away the fires go.

    Yes, the LA basin has a problem every year when the Santa Anna winds blow, but if the first problem were addressed, they wouldn't have any fuel to start burning. Or less, anywho, and firebreaks would help the firefighters greatly in their jobs. Can't have those though! They aren't "eco-friendly"! So, the fires caused by the Santa Annas spread widely, and rapidly, humans have moved into the area's they usually burn, so their houses are destroyed, and if the humans don't, or can't, leave fast enough, well, you have casualties.

    I was stationed in El Toro MCAS for a year, back in '79, so I have experienced the Santa Annas. They were harsh, for California, but back then the eco rules weren't in place yet, so the fires were relatively small, and easily contained. Then they just let them burn the fuel they had available, and problem solved. Home owners were able to clear their yards, make fire breaks, etc. Not anywhere NEAR the problems they have with the fire now. Those winds are harsh though. At least I thought so, until I got stationed at MCAS Yuma...

    Sorry all, /rant off.

    I wish the firefighters all the best, and all the others involved, California OR Australia, as well.

    Stay safe...

    Pat☺
    Pat,

    I would add one other thing to this...construction. Many people have (IMHO) foolhardily built homes in canyons and places that in natural circumstances would actually serve to isolate files, because they are natural firebreaks. There is literally nowhere for a fire to burn itself out, because it is surrounded by either natural or man-made fuel. When you add poor planning, specifically housing developments and or towns with poor evacuation routes, you become a sitting duck.
    "Rami"

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  8. #8
    SOH-CM-2019 SPman's Avatar
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    A plane drops fire retardant on a bushfire in Harrington, 335km north east of Sydney on Friday. I didn't know we had retardent fire bombers over here.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A water-bombing plane drops fire retardant on a bushfire in Harrington, 335km north east of Sydn.jpg  

  9. #9
    Maybe they flew it over from the US, or wherever it's normally based?

    Without a load of water, they're pretty light. Water is heavy stuff for the volume it takes. Even with all the maintenance crew and spare parts aboard. Fill em up with fuel, and if you have to, do it in hops from here to there to there, etc...

    Maybe?
    Pat☺
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SPman View Post
    A plane drops fire retardant on a bushfire in Harrington, 335km north east of Sydney on Friday. I didn't know we had retardent fire bombers over here.


    You've had them on call since 2018.... Coulson's..... see

    https://mccalldigest.com/coulson-avi...th-airtankers/


    Ttfn

    Pete

  11. #11
    SOH Staff .."Bartender" AussieMan's Avatar
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    Australian firefighting bombers has been using the Red Cordial for many years now. In fact some wag made a Facebook meme about it describing the fire danger index for the day..

    Rami, I totally agree. The area where I live there is a small mountain and people have built along the sides surrounded by trees.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails red cordial index.jpg  


    Cheers
    Pat


    "Some people might say that freedom is being alone in the bush with the only sounds being the murmurs from the birds ... but I believe freedom is at 5000 feet with no other sound than the engine roaring."- William Hutchison, a young man taken from us far too young (16).

  12. #12

    Fire Bombers for Oz

    Hi Pat, Rami, SP man, Motor Mouse, and all

    Like S.P. Man, l live on the West Coast of Oz, and feel for all our friends on the East Coast the same as you all do.

    The following story was passed on to me second hand, so I can’t honestly vouch for its veracity, though I believe it to be true. In the early 80s, I worked for a float-plane operator based in Palm Beach, on Sydney’s North Shore. (Great job satisfaction, but not great job security). My then boss, one of Oz's better known aviators, told me he had been involved with a proposal to lease CL215s from the Govt of Quebec, in the Canadian Off Season. A CL215 was sent out and demonstrated to State and Local Govt. authorities, and met with great enthusiasm and astonishment, after all here we are one of the most bush-fire prone countries in the world, and France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the former Yugoslavia, Greece, and now Turkey, as will as the U.S. and Canada, have these and similar aircraft, why don't we!

    General approval all round. The final say and approval, was sought from the then head of the New South Wales Country Fire Authority. He immediately canned the idea. When asked why, he replied,”eucalyptus fires are totally different from pine forest fires!”, completely ignoring the fact that there are eucalyptus trees in Southern France, and last time I heard, in Southern California! The local politicians took his word as being gospel, and cancelled further interest in fire bombing. (I believe he eventually become a local politician himself, and I have heard that a few years ago, he may have been involved in some scandal or another).

  13. #13
    SOH-CM-2019 SPman's Avatar
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    With the calibre of Aussie politicians on display these days, it seems quite probable he joined the club.....

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomTweak View Post
    Maybe they flew it over from the US, or wherever it's normally based?

    Without a load of water, they're pretty light. Water is heavy stuff for the volume it takes. Even with all the maintenance crew and spare parts aboard. Fill em up with fuel, and if you have to, do it in hops from here to there to there, etc...

    Maybe?
    Pat☺
    Everybody fly's out on the old piston route - west-coast-Hawaii-Tahiti ect. The routing varies, but southerly island-hopping. The C-130's and -146's have the best legs, pressurization and fewer stops. The bird dogs get a ferry tank fitted in the cabin, the usual light twin gimmick. The -802 does aright, put the hopper plumbing in and fill up the hopper with jet, though it's slooow, and that one fan on the front makes the ol' clacker grip the seat-mesh a bit tighter than usual, the house of office and catering truly leave much to be desired and an auto-pilot would have been nice. At least the navigation is better than back in the day's of LORAN-C, and grinding across the big pond below 10K isn't as much fun as it sounds.
    Don't miss those rides at all. Eight hours away from terrafirma in a lashed-up aircow isn't enjoyable, nor is 'six month's in a leaky (flying) boat', though the circumnavigations were novel. Can't say I have any real affection for either the cow's or the 215's. Give me a DC-6, anyday!
    Hope you diggers make out aright. Getting some real bugger fire seasons down there. Gotta say, I don't miss any of that doofer at all.

  15. #15
    SOH-CM-2019 SPman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazarus View Post
    . Getting some real bugger fire seasons down there. Gotta say, I don't miss any of that doofer at all.
    The old days of fire seasons being consectutive now seem to be over. The US/Aus fire seasons are now overlapping - started in Sep over here while you guys were still burning, so the old system of sharing aircraft is now getting less viable. There are increasing calls for Aus buying it's own "Heavies", to avoid being unable to get them from the US. I think we've got a modded 737, but that's it as far as I know.

  16. #16
    South Australia is now under the hammer, temperatures forecast to be in the low to mid 40C's.
    All the 'tree changers' living in the Adelaide Hills could be in serious danger.

    Agreed, we need some dedicated aerial heavy fire fighters, perhaps cancelling the ridiculous order for the F35's would be the best way to fund a proper airborne fire fighting fleet.

    Down on the Southern Coast we've checked and tested all our pumps, checked the gutter guards and made sure the area is cleared of debris and generally made sure we're ready.
    At least living on 'The Farm' is helpful, no close trees, a spring feeding our water storage and our self contained 'off the grid' power makes for independence.
    'Just in case', both our buried shipping containers are stocked and ventilated.



    And a PS: Looking at coverage of some of the Northern fire areas it crossed my mind of the usual aftermath, when the rains eventually arrive the topsoil will be washed away compounding the felony.
    "Illegitimum non carborundum".

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  17. #17
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    I always like to think we'd stay and fight - and with a "regular" fire, we'd perhaps have a good chance of fending it off, but the new scenario, with higher temps, lower humidity drying everything out to explosive potential, and the winds driving the fireball through the treetops, now has us making plans to just throw the animals and motorbikes in the back of the van, hitch the caravan up and run! Apart from the fact we aren't getting any younger...
    We thought we had enough space around us, but, looking at some of the places that have burnt, short of laying down a square kilometer of concrete..........

  18. #18
    The present situation is looking very grim, with really catastrophic burning moving South!
    Batemans Bay is just a bit to close to a very dry Victoria.
    I might have overdone our preparations some what but decided running water lines into the upper levels of the few trees around the house was worth the hassle.

    "Illegitimum non carborundum".

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