January: This is what we train for

Beginning 8:30 am, Sunday 14th January, our crews were kept busy around the clock fighting the Sawyers Valley bushfire. Our teams provided crews for 4 shifts, some members assisting twice, some working through the night. A special mention to Graeme and Patrick for manning the mighty Whim Close 7.2. Other members supported crews in a great team effort with changeovers, equipment and refreshments. Many of us were additionally supported by our awaiting families, who make it possible for us to do what needs doing. Thank you again to all involved, near and far. The bushfire burnt 3263 ha, travelling 10 km in 12 hours, jumping the Mundaring Weir.

First responders

This is where we also give another thank you.  Featured in the photo is our automatic hose reel which saves valuable time and effort on the fireground.  Here is one of our Lieutenants quickly winding up the hose before leaving to refill the tank.  This is where we thank the community for supporting our fundraising efforts towards purchasing the automatic hose reel, along with Club Sierra, Bank West and the Shire of Mundaring.  Thank you!

View from Pickering Brook

This stunning photo was taken from Pickering Brook by Kathy Mathieson and was shared around the world by news media.

The following 4 images were shared by Parks and Wildlife, Western Australia.



More photos and stories to come, watch this space.

December, so it begins

Saturday, 2nd December

Saturday mornings are our usual training mornings.   Before training started we received a call out to Mundaring for a minor incident, crews had scarcely returned to the station when received we another call out to assist Parks and Wildlife in Malmalling.

Sawyers Valley along with Chidlow, provided crews for 2 shifts at Malmalling.


Mundaring SES supported us by providing transport for the crew change.  Here is Warren, Michelle, Adrian and Rob (above right), waiting for the trucks to arrive for the crew change.


First crew ready for action in the 1.4, Craig, Dave W. and Ben.  Here are some of the fellas in the transport vehicle, heading back from the first shift on a hot day, Dave W., Andrew H. and Andrew M. (left to right)


With steep, new slopes there were a few action shots.


With steep, new slopes there were a few inaction shots too.  No one likes to say "bogged" so lets just say temporarily immobile.  As you can see, crews seem to really enjoy themselves.  Love that indomitable spirit of the volunteer.   Maxtrax were enough for our 1.4, metres away, Chidlow's 4.4 needed a little more help from an earthmover.  Nice of them to test out the steeper slope for us first.  At a distance I was wondering if 4.4s use different firefighting techniques, seeing them work with the hoses at full pressure, alas losing 4 tonne of water did not help the traction afterall.  Nice of us to join them and lift their spirits.


First crew making a dapper effort at drafting at high noon, versus second crew chilling at sunset.  Putting our drafting training into practise when the water tankers are off the scene, lucky to have a water source to draw on, though can take a little longer to fill the tank.

Christmas Lolly Run

Santa was very excited to have a ride in our mighty Austin with his friendly helpers.  Santa travelled the streets of Sawyers Valley on the morning of Christmas Eve, handing out lollies to all the good children, fininshing up at the Sawyers Valley oval.




Christmas Party


Third generation firefighters dressed and ready to go, lucky they have a grandmother who is talented at sewing.  The other kids not so lucky, but their mum and dad are both firefighters so at least they can hang out with the cool firetrucks.


The engine bay scrubbed up well and so did the crews.  Always lovely to catch up.


The important thing is that everyone has fun.   The helmet did have built in comms.

[Photos this month courtesy of Ben, Dave W., Keith and Michelle]

November, preparing for Summer fire season

Oh no! The station is on fire! Better call 000.

Just kidding, we always set fire to the station, no the surrounding vegetation everytime we have an international fire fighter vist.   If you are wondering, yes we did have a permit, it is the Restricted Burning period afterall.

Murray, Kyle and Andrew.  Kyle is from the Joint Base Cape Cod Fire Department, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (try saying that 10 times quickly). Nice of him to drop by the station for training with his brother in law Murray, even helped out with the small hazard reduction burn.   

Hitting the Tracks Training


Beautiful scenery and great company out on the tracks for training Saturday.   Looks like they had fun.   Phil is giving the camera a friendly wave, always a keen firefighter. 

Our keen followers may notice there are 3 Light Tankers in the photo.  Our 1.4 needed some servicing and upgrades, so DFES loaned us two Light Tankers in exchange.  Needed a slight reminder which truck we were driving when using radio, "Sawyers Valley Light Tanker 1, correction Light Tanker 3 leaving the station."  Some clever person placed stickers on the trucks to remind us, good move.


Elton and Murray refilling the Light Tanker on Cole Rd on the left.  Phil rolling the hose on the right.

Hazard Reduction Burns

Angus and Tina assisted with a Shire burn in Glen Forrest, with the Light Tanker.  Here they are blacking out.   Always a challenge to find people available during the week.   Shire Hazard Reduction Burns are great fun to attend, where you get to work with other brigades and the friendly Fire officers from the shire, who also volunteer.

One of our last residential burns for the year was near the highway.  The burn was conducted over 2 separate days.


We learnt the hard way, it is better to light up the bonfire after we finish eating our lovely tea and scones.  Gloves back on and springing into action is Dave sorting a tree.


Michelle raking on the left.  A rare photo of our First Lieutenant and previous Captain John, who has a talent for avoiding photos.  John has a very long and impressive history of volunteering.

If you look carefully you may just make out the lights on the Light Tanker.

We prefer to see this during the Burning Season, under control and monitored.

Some great shots coming up for our next December edition, stay tuned.

[November photos courtesy of Ben, Michelle, Brenden and Carmel.  Thank you everyone.]


October was a busy month

5 Minute Fire Chat

Firstly we would like to encourage everyone to check out the latest release by DFES, it may help save your life. Here is the link: https:// www.dfes.wa.gov.au/firechat/Pages/default.htm 

Restricted Burning and Permits

Our station on Ashstead St, Sawyers Valley is open every Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 am for permits.

Restricted Burning is in place for October and November. You may only burn a single 1 sqm pile after 6 pm without a permit. To burn any other time or a larger area you require a permit, which is free of charge.

Congratulations to Our Newest Firefighters

We have added a few more Daves to our fully fledged firefighters rosters this month.  Dave R. is a returning member who recently retrained, graduating at the Mundaring Firefighters School.  Dave W. is a very keen new firefighter who also graduated and has already attended his first call out.  Great to welcome you both.

Below left: both Daves checking the vehicles.  Below right: Dave W. having a screaming great time training on the Powerline track in the 1.4.



Dave is still having a screaming good time after a fire call.

Rudy's Ride

A few of us had the great privilege to meet Canadian Fire Captain Rudy Pospisil, who is riding from Perth to Melbourne, continuing his circumnavigation of the globe, raising funds for the Peter Mac Cancer Research Centre.
Rudy is quite an inspiration and took the time to enquire if our volunteers were well supported by health insurance.

We wished him all the best with his trip across the Nullabor and he assured us he had plenty of music and audio books to keep him focussed on the ride.

Good luck Rudy!

Please support Rudy on his ride, you can make a donation via his page, all donations over $2 are tax deductable.

Rural Urban Interface

Sawyers Valley participated in a large scale training exercise with other Mundaring brigades in Chidlow.  This is the first RUI exercise our new Mundaring chief has conducted since he was appointed earlier this year.  By all accounts it just as exciting and chaotic as a real large incident.  A few mock injuries and burn overs were thrown into the mix.


What is always wonderful about these excerises, is the support of the residents.  The residents allowed the brigades to enter and access their properties.  We thank them for their support and patience.



Not only is there the opportunity to work with other brigades but we all get to have a great spread and a yarn afterwards.

Swap Meet Fundraiser

This year the weather was kind and we managed to organise a very successful Swap Meet.  Thank you to the community members who came along and supported us as either buyers or sellers.

We were further supported by local businesses, with TJ Signs in Sawyers Valley making us some awesome banners.  Two local business allowed us to advertise the banners in front of their business so we would also like to thank Stockfeed West in Sawyers Valley and Specialty Feeds in Glen Forrest for hosting our banner.


Above right, one of our retired firefighters dropped in to say hello to Keith and Andrew.


We train them young in Sawyers Valley, here is young Alex with his very proud grandparents.  Looks like he is putting in some containment lines there in the sand.

Mundaring Firefighters School

Somehow a few of our members found time to improve their skills and qualifications at Mundaring Firefighters School.  A few of our different members recently passed: Introduction to Fire Fighting, Bush Fire Fighting, their MR Driver's License, Sector Commander and Structural Firefighting.

Below, the correct way to use a fire blanket or sneak up on your instructor.


Below left, Rob being quite tall is not afraid of heights, hauls up a fire extinguisher.  Right, we learn how to sneak up on basketball players with a hose by first spraying a fine mist to stun them, then a fine jet to take them out.  Not really, it is a technique for approaching a house fire without losing your eyebrows.


Hazard Reduction Burn in Chidlow

Just a few photos from the Hazard Reduction Burn near the pipeline in Chidlow this month. There were white, yellow, red, and blue hats at the burn, so quite a bit of diverse talent and expertise.


The pipeline as a barrier added to the challenge and created a certain degree of amusement when we needed to climb over. Must thank the crew for not taking my photo in those instances.





[Photos courtesy of Dave. W, Keith, Michelle, Rob and Andy]

Spring has Sprung

Spring is all about preparing for the fire season.  We train, check equipment and the appliances (trucks), and conduct hazard reduction burns.  Training occurs weekly at the station, sometimes at neighbouring brigades, the Mundaring Firefighers School and even further afield.

Burn Over Training at Chidlow

This month we were invited to train at Chidlow with other brigades. 

(photos below courtesy of Dave W.)


A big thank you to Chidlow for hosting two great inter-brigade training sessions over the two weeks. Burn Over training began with an informative classroom session, where they showed videos to traumatise the new recruits, but luckily they are still hanging in there and more motivated to do well at training. Then it was out into the field practising the Burn Over drills, where you get to do fun things like pull down curtains and hide under blankets in the truck.

Below are some great shots of the appliances with the curtains down. This protects us from the deadly radiant heat when trapped in an unavoidable burn over situation. (photos courtesy of Dave R.)


Hazard Reduction Burn

Earlier in the month, before all the rain, Sawyers Valley joined the different Mundaring brigades, along with the Shire's Fire Protection officers.  Not only did we assist in making the community safer, it was a great learning experience to work with other brigades and senior officers.   Your correspondent was deployed on the firebug, learning about different lighting patterns and adjusting for the changing conditions, to keep the burn safely within control.   

Below crews are keeping an eye on the burn, hose at the ready. But there is always time to chat.  Burns are always good fun and you get fed, so well looked after.  We also get to practise a few skills. (photos courtesy of Michelle)


The Volunteer Bush Fire Games

Sawyers Valley's representative at the games was the mighty Austin!  One of the Austin's first public appearances.  From earlier stories you may be aware of the beautiful restoration of the Austin by the tradesmen and apprentices at Westrac.

Below are two of the brigades veteran firefighters Keith and Les, proudly driving the Austin.  Not many of us have the skills to double clutch.

The Austin was in good company with Byford's Isuzu and the Westfield International.  All were a great hit with the kids and adults.

Parkerville proudly represented the Mundaring brigades in the games.  One of the challenges involved drafting from a collar tank, using the Light Tanker from West Gidgegannup.  The puddle forming underneath the truck is a sign of success.  They also won a 3rd place in the Burn Over drill in the Bunbury 3.4.  Well done Parkerville!


The Burn Over Drill was quite spectacular, with the monitor providing quite a spray and the odd rainbow.  It is wise to bring an umbrella.  Some video footage is on our facebook page, along with more photos and general fire information.  https://www.facebook.com/sawyersvalley/


It would not be firefighting games without some fire.


(photos courtesy of Michelle)

New Helmet for the New Captain

There were smiles all round when our Captain got a new helmet. 



Our friends at Parks and Wildlife have been busy putting in new firebreaks.  A good reminder to prepare your property for the fire season so it is easy for our trucks to access.




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