“In the lead up to Saturday, our focus was to prepare the area for the forecast conditions. This included using a grader to put fire breaks around properties and a dozer to push further breaks around properties.

The local knowledge of the CFA was critical and we relied heavily on them to advise on weather conditions, water points, location of houses, those staying to defend their homes and much more.

​Our ultimate aim was asset protection and as spot fires started, we quickly sprung into action. We had five FFMVic G-Wagons, one CFA tanker, plus locals on quad bikes with spray units and several private units, including an ex-army six-wheel Land Rover. At times, it felt like something out of Mad Max.

The first home that came under ember attack was the CFA captain’s, who at the time was protecting his neighbour’s property. We quickly moved to his house and worked as a team to successfully defend his home.

Unfortunately, he lost his shed, but we were able to stop the fire from affecting his home by 10 metres.

His son is a first year project firefighter who happened to be on a rest day, so that was very handy! We also had a local contractor from Murrindindi who did a great job helping us with their excavator by clearing dangerous trees from roads and exintguishing spot fires.

It was incredible work on the ground to save the vast majority of houses and sheds in the valley. Sadly we did see some losses, particularly in the southern end of the valley, where there was extreme fire behaviour making it inaccessible for firefighting efforts.

At the end of the shift it was a great to come together to reflect on our efforts.

We were starving so headed to Macca's in Wodonga at 3:30am. The poor staff member behind the drive-in counter got quite a fright to see 10 pairs of filthy green overalls greeting her!”

Page last updated: 20/01/20