In comparison to previous busy summers, the 2020/2021 fire season has been abnormally quiet for fire crews state-wide. The crews have been making the most of the situation. Fire crews from Prospect, Scottsdale, Ulverstone and Lutana have been keeping busy on a large number of different projects around the state.
In January 2020 PWS took delivery of their new class three heavy tanker. This comes with a specially designed removable fire body and additional tipper tray. The tanker along with its sister truck and fire crew from Lutana have been hard at work on the east coast carting rock material to place on strategic fire trails. This will ensure these trails are maintained and ready for use should the need arise in the future.
Crews have also been involved in establishing Tasmania’s first winch attack capable crew. In January and February 2021 - crews undertook initial training in Hobart followed by several practical training sessions in real life scenarios. PWS now has 23 winch trained firefighters.
Other important preparation works in the field include:
- Preparation works prior to the commencement of fuel reduction burns. Fire breaks were checked and overgrown vegetation cleared either with machinery or by hand with brush cutters; vehicle access and egress routes must be checked; dangerous trees and hazards identified, marked and removed;
- Strategic fire trail maintenance was undertaken including rectification of roads, tracks and clearing of firebreaks to ensure access for heavy tankers.
The regional field centres works program included:
- Walking track maintenance and clearing;
- Installation of boom gates on new strategic fire trails; and
- Cleaning and tidying of campsites.
A quiet season also meant that crews were able to conduct a full maintenance program a lot earlier than normal - ensuring that our equipment is maintained and ready to go at all times.