RFS conducts hazard reduction around Narooma: Photos

RFS brigades from the Narooma area took advantage of light winds and favourable conditions to conduct a hazard reduction burns.

They were relatively small burns in western Narooma out off Wagonga Scenic Drive.

Fire ground planner and controller Jane Mansergh said the hazard reduction burns aimed at reducing a build-up of fuel over a period of time and this protects houses.

On Friday, the RFS volunteers were at the site of an old cemetery, on the property “Bangalay”.

There was a fuel moisture content of between 11 and 17 per cent.

Mansergh calculated that based on the amount of fuel, this would produce a flame height of “a good metre to metre and a half; a little higher than we want. However, we are burning in in ideal conditions.”

After lighting a test spot, Jane observed “It’s how we want it; low intensity”.

Local Lindsay Quonoey was there to assist the RFS volunteers.

“I was teed up to burn to burn these heaps, so while all the fire trucks are where we’ll do it together,” he said.

“I’ve been here for 36 years, and have been Captain of the Bush Fire Brigade. You’ve got to take an opportunity.”

The hazard reduction area apparently has never been burned and there could be anywhere between 150 to 250 graves in there.

“This was the site of the original township. Cobb and Co coaches used to get through – this was the old Melbourne to Sydney route,” he said.

Mansergh meanwhile by lunchtime was pleased with the progress.

“It’s a nice low intensity burn so far. We’ll be achieving our objectives,” she said.

“The plan was to burn “only 1.8ha here. We’ll be doing another after lunch.”

To achieve our low intensity burn; it’s about not putting too much fire at one point in time.”

When the spots join up it would increase in intensity.

“The crew will mop up and ensure that nothing escapes the boundary. We expect a scorch height as we’re getting; about 6 metres.”

Volunteer firefighter David Keogh said; “We’re all volunteers. We all give our time. I’m self-employed and had no work on today, so it doesn’t cost me anything to be here. We’re looking after the community.”

“Probably 70 to 80 per cent of the RFS are retirees, so they can give their time. HR plans ahead, so they know who’s available.”

Steve Smith also said it was about community protection.

“If we weren’t here doing this, then who’s going to look after the community?”