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Old 08-03-2018, 06:22 AM   #198
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Tocumwal, NSW, Australia
Posts: 1,157
Default Re: tell a Model A related story

Summer 1990. Big fires.

Fires are always devastating, heart breaking and costly. The big loss of course is of life both in people and live stock. This is no matter where on earth fires occur.

I always enjoyed working on fires for the pleasure it gave me in helping people. Farmers had water trailers, pumps and hoses to fight. I knew all these fellows in my local area because I worked for most of them. I would not take payment and neither did they working on other properties. They would always be grateful and some wrote to me expressing so. I regret not keeping those letters. I once got a statement of gratitude on the front page of a state weekly.

One summer day the atmosphere was crisp, temp high and wind high. It was clear we were in for trouble. Yes the phone rang. Help please. Jerilderie area was out of control. I sent Dennis in the tanker to load me. The wind was so strong it was difficult to control the aeroplane. It took maybe 3 minutes to take on a load. In that time the fuel in the carburettor boiled and when I opened the throttle the only thing that happened was yellow flame and black smoke would flow from the exhaust for about 8 seconds before cool fuel would fill the carby and the engine would power up. I worked nearly all avo and made the fire manageable and the farmers were able to extinguish it. I was pleased when it was over and I headed home.

But I didn’t get home. The town of Tocumwal has called and they need help. Another fire, started by campers over the river had jumped in 15 (if I recall) places. What were little fires quickly became big fires in these high winds. Ran down the railway next to where I now live. These were now too extensive for me to control so I advised and directed the crews where to head. There must have been 25 fire engines with crews. Some had come great distances. The wind abated about dark and fires were travelling slowly now. It was after 11 at night when it was under control and I departed. It actually looked spectacular in the dark.

Many thousands of sheep were lost in the Jerilderie fire which was moving about 30mph across the grass lands. Losses less at Tocumwal although some houses were lost. Irrigation channels confined the fire somewhat.

Since that time I have flown for the state fire authority but did not enjoy that. Bureaucracy and stupidity and egos ran those. Priority was not extinguishing the fire. Perhaps South Australia is exempt of the above statement.

This little fellow is a Koala or native bear. He or she is posing on my back gate post. They are decimated in fire.
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I know many things,
But I don't know everything,
Sometimes I forget things.

And there are times when I have a long memory.

Last edited by; 08-03-2018 at 06:35 AM. is offline   Reply With Quote