Blighty RFS brigade captain Derryl Bain led his crew through one of the largest fires in this region for many years.By Jess Everingham
The Rural Fire Service Blighty Brigade saw houses almost lost, livestock burned and sand on fire while battling the blaze that threatened Jerilderie on Tuesday.
Blighty Captain Derryl Bain’s team of volunteers even drove through the blaze itself while trying to reach a home in danger at the property ‘Somerset Merino Stud’.
The fire burned right up to the front yard, but did not touch the home.
Capt Bain believes several homes had similar close calls.
‘‘It burned right to the house yard fence and in and around the sheds,’’ he said.
‘‘By the time we got there, it had basically passed it.
‘‘It had left the house and the sheds.’’
Capt Bain said he was ‘‘relieved’’ the house was not destroyed.
However, he said he was too busy fighting the rest of the fire on multiple fronts to think about it.
‘‘That was a bit of an issue
Capt Bain’s team was based in an isolated area on the north side of Yanco Creek, about 30km from Jerilderie in the south east corner of the fire ground.
‘‘We were down behind the sandhills and timber,’’ he said.
Capt Bain said the sandhills didn’t appear to have much fuel on them — but looks were deceiving.
‘‘It burned unbelievably,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s full of catheads (small prickles). The catheads seemed to be burning.
‘‘You could put it out ten times, it would light up again.
‘‘The wind would catch, roll it across the ground and away it would go again.
‘‘It looked like just the sand was burning.’’
While homes and sheds have so far escaped damage, livestock, fences and powerpoles were not so lucky.
‘‘There was quite a number of stock injured,’’ Capt Bain said.
‘‘The Livestock Health and Pest Authority and a Jerilderie vet are looking after their welfare.
‘‘There’s been fences cut and burnt.
‘‘There’s several power poles burnt. [Essential] Energy was out there replacing poles.’’
It was a long day for the volunteers, who mostly worked 12 hour shifts.
‘‘There were quite a few cases where they were stretched out longer than that, especially fire ground management crews,’’ Capt Bain said.
‘‘I know of two that were probably on for 14 to 16 hours.
‘‘The whole of NSW was on high alert so it was pretty hard to get crews in from other areas.’’
Despite the exhaustion, Capt Bain said morale was ‘‘reasonably good’’.
The firefighter said the volunteers included private citizens, not just brigade members.
‘‘There were private tanker trailers,’’ he said.
‘‘Several semi trailers with water tankers on them, carting 20,000 litres of water out to the fire ground. They were generally manned by private blokes.’’
Crews also had assistance from the air, with four water bombing planes plus a spotter plane operating.
Goulburn Valley Health’s renal patients have seven new hand-sewn quilts to call their own.
The winning form continued for the Mulwala seniors against Deniliquin at Lonsdale Reserve on Saturday.
The Tatura Hospital and Parkvilla Aged Care Facility, part of Goulburn Valley Health, held its annual June Hospital Collection and Open Day on Sunday with a small crowd in attendance.
Murray and Campaspe shire have decided to withdraw membership from Committee for Echuca-Moama.
Rochester Motorsport Complex will host the third round of the Golden Power Series karting championships on the weekend.
Kyabram’s first tourism booklet is to be launched in late September.
Seymour College P-4 students delight in their new surroundings.
Berrigan and Jerilderie Shires will be in separate state electorates if boundary redistributions announced on Monday come in to effect.
Heathcote Health is finalising its service plan.
Barooga Sports Club chief executive officer Greg Ryan recently celebrated 30 years of service surrounded by friends, family and past and present staff.
Former AFL player Heath Black sent an inspiring message to Deniliquin youths last week.
Goulburn Valley fruit growers may face a battle against pests and diseases this season as growers hit by SPC Ardmona’s fruit cutbacks abandon their orchards or can’t find money to properly maintain them.
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