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.



Farewell but not goodbye

This week we say farewell to Ann and Charles, it is not goodbye for they promise to visit from time to time.  We will all still miss them though, and Saturday morning training will not seem the same.   We will miss your always charming, cheerful company.

Ann and Charles have been part of Sawyers Valley's brigade for over 20 years, though their community service began much earlier in Carnamah before they settled here.  They have stuck by our brigade, and the community through the good times and the bad.  They both still have many stories that remain untold to us all, so we will hold them to their promise to visit. 

A recent quote of farewell from Ann and Charles, "We leave the area with many good memories particularly from our life in the Brigade, when at first we were both able to go out on first call, and over the years of the many good community minded fellow members who became friends as well.  Folk all of whom we were able to work with in normal brigade duties as well as the extra events like cutting up tonnes of firewood, the raffles, and all the busy bees etc involved with the building of our wonderful new station.  That achievement is something the Brigade can and should be very proud of.  I do not know of any other Brigade that has built three stations by themselves.(each 0ne bigger and better)."


Working together with the brigade to build our rather impressive, bigger and better new station on Ashstead St.


Ann and Charles giving and receiving awards at the Annual Dinner.

A young Charles getting in some 4wd practise.


Charles is always good for a laugh.


Charles has a passion for classic vehicles.  One of his projects was the restoration of the grand old Austin.  Not a bad job to say the least.  Must say Charles looks pretty chuffed.


So again farewell Ann and Charles.  Thank you very much for your service to the community.  Thank you for your company, it will always be greatly appreciated.   We will keep a cup warm for you on Saturday.

June Brings Winter at last.

Well we have finally had a little rain and some colder weather.  Let's hope we get some more rain yet or it might be a very dry and fire-prone summer.

June saw us still doing HRBs, since the dry conditions made that possible.  This site down Cole Rd was one we prepared last year but then we didn't burn it due to much wetter conditions than this year.

It's a lovely area. The team together on the trail.


It took us two goes this year to burn the block this year too.  The first day we did all the preparation, but the dew never dried off.  We still had a good time, and with Dave the pro-photographer there, we got some lovely photos.

Jen and Rob.

jen and rob

Ken from Darling Range Brigade with Andrew.

ken and andrew

Young Andrew, as we call him to save confusion with all the other Andrews! 

young andrew

Father and daughter team, Ben and Zee.

ben abd zee

Most of the team on day one.  


The next week we went back and took care of the block at last, to the relief of the neighbour who lives nearby and who has been worried about bushfires.

Angus heading down the line.


The grass trees always put on a show. 

grass tree

Pierre looking mythical in the smoke.


Slanting sun catches the smoke.


There has been some pleasant time spent socialising in the sun at Saturday Schedules. 


Always thinking what he can do for the benefit of the brigade, Charles brought in a hose-winder that he has been making for us.  That will save us some time and effort!  Thanks Charles!


We held a wood raffle at the local market, complete with the usual pleasant chat with other members and the public.  Many thanks to everyone who bought a ticket!  The wood went to a very pleased recipient in Stoneville.  


And last but not least, we had a very generous donation to the brigade of one of our old Light Tankers!  

old truck

July will see us starting to work on our skills refreshers, some members will have driver and HRB training, and there might just be an AGM in there too.  See you at the end of the month! 

Photos for June were taken by Dave, Andrew, Michelle, Tina, Ben and Jen. 





Marvellous May

Sawyers Brigade has really been in the spotlight this month, with two separate appearances in the media.

First up, our own Jen O's photo was featured in DFES's Volunteer Month postings.

jen o

Then the women of the Brigade were asked to do a photo session and interview.  It was a weekday so not all of our lovely ladies could come, but many thanks to those who could, and to the fellers who came along to support us.  We had a jolly time doing the photos and having a cuppa afterwards.


From left to right, we have Jen O, Michelle, Delphine, Lynne, Jen G,  Mirline, Tina and Zee. This photo is one taken by a supporting hubby at the same time, but the best photo is to be seen here on the Gazette's site along with the article.

We hope very much that one day, some happy Fireys will be able to say, "That was the article that made me decide to join up!"

We had a couple of call-outs but nothing too serious. This was a bonfire in the forest that had been lit and well breaked by PAW, so we were asked not to put it out, but it made for some pretty pictures as the low sun caught the smoke. john 

john 2

Other things that happened this month were a combined BBQ brekky with Chidlow and Darling Range Brigade members. It mean a lot of laughs and much chat.  We love networking with other brigades and hope to do more of it in future.


Many thanks to pro-photographer, Dave Ramsay, who has recently rejoined the Brigade (Yay! Go Dave!) and used his whizzbang camera to take this pic for us.  He also took this one of our dear old Austin.


Jen G was her usual amazing catering self, and she had her brave team of BBQers working hard.  Breakfast was delicious!


We had the Annual Can-shaking Day in the city too.  Our Brigade was represented by plenty of dedicated members, including father and daughter team, Rowdy and the Ginger Ninja (who is a Mundaring VFRS Cadet.)  Many thanks to everyone who put in the time and we hope you had fun too.

craig and molly

Training goes on apace, and we have plenty of people heading to interesting courses in the next few months.  You can always learn something new when you are a Firey!

Mundaring Shire's Community Emergency Safety Manager (CESM) and Chief BushFire Control Officer, Mark Casotti, left the Shire this month to take on his new role in the Pilbara.  Mark has a long and valuable history with our Brigade, as does his wife, Zoe, and we wish them all the very best in their new ventures. We're very sure the Pilbara is gaining just as much as our Shire has lost and hope to see them back one day.


Fantastic photographers this month were:  Dave, Tina, Andrew, and Jenny.    




April Again!

April this year begins and ends with a Games Night, but we haven't quite had our second one yet! The first Games Night, early in the month, was for kids, both little kids and big kids, and a lot of fun was had.

Andrew playing a game of Tsuro with Sky, Jade, Chloe and Niamh.

Games 1

Angus and Max having a serious game of Battleship.

angus and Max

This was a very uproarious game of Uno at times.  The players and numbers of players seemed to change a lot through the course of the evening and lots of laughter was heard.


Jenga was popular too!


We attended one call-out to a fire on Wellbucket Road, well out into the forest in a pine plantation area.  With the smoke and the slanting sun, the scene was quite surreal at times.  This is Andy and Phil blacking out.


It was Phil's first turnout to a bushfire and he did great.  Well done Phil!

wellbcket 2

Andrew and Phil doing the black-out ballet...


Last week we took the 1.4 along to give the lovely people of the Darling Range Communications  Brigade an idea of how a burnover situation might look at the other end of the radio.  Angus, Jen and Andy did a great job of demoing.

demo 1

demo 2

While Andrew did an equally good job of talking the activity through for the viewers.

demo 3

We have had some good training sessions, both fun and educational.  Sister team, Jen and Tina, had a bit too much fun here, we think!

jen and tina

This is Ziana on the monitor as we test what sort of pressures we can make using different configurations between vehicles and the hydrant.


Murray and Pierre were our Light Tanker pilots for that one.  Looking good, guys!

train 1

Michelle looking glamorous AND paracticing her crew leader skills!   How does she do that?


Plenty of good work went into maintaining the station and vehicles.


And we did one HRB at a member's property where new members, Father and Daughter team, Ben and Ziana, got 'sooted' for the first time.  Well done!  They are halfway through their basic training course too.  One more weekend of training to go and some more HRBs and they'll be all kitted out and trained, ready to hit the fireground come next season.

ben and zee

Once again the smoke and sun made for some lovely scenes.



The weather is remaining dry and warm, making fuels extra flammable.  This is the mini fire tornado that came from a relatively small amount of fuel at our HRB. 

hrb flames

With permit season now on, please be very careful to exercise your good sense when you light up, and be sure to follow the local rules.  In Mundaring, without a permit, you can have ONE 1x1 metre fire at a time, lit after 6pm and put out by 11pm.  For permit burns, be very careful to follow all of those guidelines on the front and back of the paper.  Special rules apply if you want to do your verges, so do check with the Mundaring Shire about those. Remember your poor neighbours' lungs and washing when looking at wind directions, and make sure all is blacked out fully before going off to bed, so you don't get a visit from us or another Brigade at 2am because your burn got away!


See you in May!

Many thanks to the people who sent us great photos to use this month:  Andy, Phil, Michelle, Tina and Andrew.




Subscribe to Sawyers Valley Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade RSS