Less than 17 hours into 2014 Halfway Creek 7 responded to a small fire on the old highway at the corner of Rediger Close. It appeared to have been deliberately lit as it was burning on both sides of the road. We extinguished the west side. Then put in a small back burn on the east side at the creek and allowed the fire to burn out. Tony, Kevin, Matt and Laura attended, Laura and Kevin met the crew at the fire. We returned to the station around 8 pm.
At 3:20 am on Boxing Day Halfway Creek 7 responded to a car on fire at Station Creek campgrounds. By the time the crew (Tony, Greg & Kevin) arrived the car was well and truly gone we put out the car remains to prevent any spread to the surrounding bush. Tony called the ambulance as the driver who was asleep in his car when it went up in flames suffered smoke inhalation, the police also attended but it appeared to be just an accident. We returned to the station at about 6 am.
Halfway Creek Cat 1 responded to another serious highway collision this time involving a 4wd and caravan and an empty tipper and dog. the two people in the 4wd were badly injured and transferred to hospital. Tony (Captain) and Matt with a crew from Glenugie assist Fire & Rescue, ambulance and police and when it was all over cleaned up the site so the highway could be reopened.
Halfway Creek and Glenugie’s Cat 1s attended another fatal motor vehicle accident at almost the same spot on the highway just south of Kungala Road. The south bound car crossed onto the wrong side and was totalled by the north bound B-double. It was a long night for all, after midnight before we were able to start clearing up the mess and well into the early morning before the truck was finally recovered and the highway re-opened.
Halfway Creek had the Cat 1 at this fire on the 11th and 13th and the Cat 7 on the 14th. The Cat 1 was used mostly in property defense and for refueling smaller units, although the Cat 1 was put to better use at the end of the second day to pump water through 240 metres of hose 80 metres up to cover Parks & Wildlife crews back burning at Ewans Gap on Sherwood Creek Road. On the 14th the Cat 7 was involved in back burning along Athol Glen Road with lots of other units and a water bombing chopper.
For over two weeks now Halfway Creek RFS crews and other RFS brigades have been attempting to control a fire that started or was started in inaccessible bush west of Rediger Close. This fire threatened properties in Rediger Close, Dunmar Lane and all the way up to the ridge almost to the phone towers and over to Clearwater Creek and Gilmore’s Lane. Several times it was thought to be contained only to have it break out yet again beyond the containment lines. Finally it was decided to extend the burn along the Highway from Rediger Close to Kungala Road and down Gilmore’s Lane to link up with the previous burns near Skelly’s Plantation and surround the fire completely.
On Saturday 7th September a large strike team of 14 RFS tankers and a couple of group leaders from the Clarence Valley and Coffs Harbour areas, as well as lots of RMS personnel to control the Highway traffic, assembled at the Halfway Creek RFS station. They were divided into three teams to complete a back burn line of about 10 kilometres around over 1000 plus acres of bush, including asset protection of several homes and the Halfway Creek Hall. The burn was successfully completed and blacked out by about 8 pm with a tanker from Halfway Creek patrolling well into the night and yet another Halfway Creek crew continuing this with assistance from Grafton RFS on Sunday. Sunday night following calls to "000" a further inspection by a brigade officer confirmed the fire to be safe but would be checked again on Monday morning and patrolled if it required any further work.
Almost every active member of Halfway Creek RFS participated in controlling this fire at some stage, congratulation team especially the new ones - well done.
Here is a link to a facebook video filmed by a Bruce Thomas a well known local photographer who was passing by a the height of the Highway burn from Kungala Road https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151871262402904
A section of the fire we attended last week at Stoney Ridge Road had spread up and over the ridge towards Blackbutt Rd and was threatening a couple of homes. We were called out to assist Lanitza, Grafton and Braunstone 7’s with this. Lanitza and Grafton had the situation in hand so we were tasked with watching a couple of properties up hill from the fire. By late evening the fire was deemed in control and we returned to the station
Halfway Creek brigade conducted a hazard reduction burn on the Pacific Highway just north of our station. We used both units the Cat 1 & the Cat 7 and our crew consisted Captain Tony, Matt, Ken, Clare, Greg, Kevin & Laura. Our trucks were assisted by Iluka 7. It was a small burn but was made difficult by lots of tall whiskey grass and occasional wind gusts causing flare ups and the odd spot over. Towards the end our Cat 7 got bogged in an invisible soft spot and had to be towed out when the first burn was successfully completed and blacked out. We then burnt a further small area near the house and blacked it out. It was good training for all especially the new comers who still have little or no fire experience. We were back in the station by 5:00 pm refilled the trucks and signed off.