My first deployment as Taskforce Leader at the Tambo Crossing fire was a big one, and I could not have been prouder of my crew.
It was my third deployment for the summer to the Swifts Creek area, following two previous deployments where I worked as a dozer operator, tree faller and as an Assistant Taskforce Leader.
This included a range of activities like putting in back burns around the Fentree Creek fire near Ensay, along with teaching crew how to use a self-propelled incendiary flare (SPIF).
My deployment as Taskforce Leader was for seven days, leading 18 FFMVic firefighters. The majority of the crew had been together for the previous two deployments to Swifts Creek, so we knew each other well and had good systems in place.
Knowing we were facing one of the worst days on record in the area for weather, our aim in the lead up to the spike day was to work with the locals and get to know the land.
We broke up into sectors in three parts of the town and worked closely with local community members.
Around 20 locals stayed to defend, having successfully done the same thing during the 06/07 fires in the area. Their knowledge was invaluable about where to send trucks, any safety concerns, properties and so much more.
We were also alongside a CFA strike team from District 8 who had five trucks, along with contractors with dozers, skidders and excavators, and another FFMVic taskforce from Noojee under the leadership of Scott Metcalf.
On the day of the fire, we went off to work in Tambo Crossing and at 10:30am the first spot fire of many took.
It was amazing to watch our crew, CFA, contractors and the local land owners working as one to stop the spread of fire in Tambo.
Knowing that we had fire 360 degrees around us meant we were in for the long fight.
Being through Black Saturday I had seen conditions like this, but for many newer crew members this was their first experience under a fire front like that.
26 hours later it was a great feeling to have a nice cold drink together knowing we gave it our all and saved so many assets. Especially with the wind changes that moved through.
At the end of the fire fight, I was worn out but so proud of what we had done together.
Page last updated: 22/01/20