Twelve members of the brigade got awards Friday night at the City’s annual Emergency Services Sundowner. For the first time the event was held at the brigade’s Caves Road shed. It was also the official opening of the brigade’s new training room.
The event was hosted by the COB mayor Grant Henley and local MLA Libby Mettam and was attended by regional and Perth DFES commissioners and officers, City FCO Allan Guthrie and about 75 volunteers. Henley expressed the city’s appreciation for the work done by the emergency services volunteers while Mettam highlighted the important role performed by Bush Fire Ready groups. Local Fire Control Officer Mark Fisher talked about the history of the brigade from when it got its first real fire truck in the 1990s and the work done by Geoff Jones in introducing formal training into the brigade.
Award winners were Douglas Kirsop and Ian Mitchell for 15 years service; Chris and Shahan Ayres, Ray Forma, Bruce Lawrence, Tony Sharp and John Stevens for 10 years and Gerald Hutton, Ian McKenzie, Kevin Smorthwaite and Barb Stevens for 5 years. Peter Campbell and Gerald Hutton were both recognized for the work they have done for Bush Fire Ready.
Brigade members were busy the previous week preparing the shed for the event and creating the new temporary parking space.
A fire in a garage at a house on Commonage road brought out all the local brigades Monday. Our 4.4 and Light Tanker were called out for our first fire of spring, joining units from Dunsborough and Coastal Fire and Rescue and Dunsborugh Bush Fire Brigades.
Bruce was in the LT and was stood down enroute. Fish, Mitch, Mark P and Tony were in the 4.4. As Fish was the FCO for the location, he was nominally Incident Controller, but as it was a house fire, Fire and Rescue ran the show. They had to break into the garage and, using breathing apparatus, put out the fire . The fire originated in a refrigerator. All damage was isolated to the garage. The Rural brigade was there in case extra water was needed or the fire spread to the surrounding bush.
The community was reminded last weekend that bush fires are still a threat, even though it is June.
Both Yallingup Rural trucks were called out early Sunday to put out a fire that originated in a private burnoff the previous day. FCOs Fish and Hunty, along with Andy, Michael B, Steveo and Todd spent their Sunday morning mopping up.
Brigade Captain Matty points out that even though it is June and the fire season is officially over we need to be very careful burning off until the winter rains finally arrive.
After a very quiet season the brigade picked up the pace in May with its AGM and a couple of hazard reduction burns.
There were big changes at the AGM with longtime chairman, Ian MacKenzie, stepping down and being replaced by Peter Campbell, the area’s Bushfire Ready Facilitator. Ian will remain an active member of the auxiliaries while Peter maintains his facilitator’s role
The brigade also thanked Mark and Wendy Standish for their major contribution to the brigade over the years. Wendy has been the brigade secretary for the last few years and Mark was the Yallingup Siding brigade captain and then FCO and active member. They are moving to Darwin. Wendy has been replaced by Linda Jenkins.
Between the showers the brigade was able to get in two burnoffs; at Sainsbury Loop and Lombo View. The burns were managed by Matty with Alan, Chris, Dave B & Dave T, Douglas, Egis, Fish, Hunty, Mike, Noel, Ross, Ruth, Pete and Todd helping out.
More burns are planned, with the timing depending on the weather. The next is scheduled for this Saturday, June 3. Anyone available should contact Fish.
Captain Matty points out it’s crucial for the brigade to conduct these important burns at this time of year as this minimizes the potential for major summer fires. And it is also an excellent opportunity for new members to get some experience, in light of the very few fires this last season.