Firies gather to cel­e­brate 50 years

Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Bryce Luff

THE Jan­dakot Vol­un­teer Bush Fire Bri­gade marked 50 years of his­tory at a cel­e­bra­tory event over the week­end.

For­mer vol­un­teers, cur­rent mem­bers and guests packed the Suc­cess Re­gional Sport­ing Fa­cil­ity on Satur­day night to re­live “war sto­ries” and the bri­gade’s de­vel­op­ment over the past five decades.

Sec­ond Lieu­tenant Gavin McDiarmid said it was a great op­por­tu­nity to take stock of all the bri­gade’s achieve­ments.

“To reach 50 years is a huge ac­com­plish­ment for the bri­gade,” he said.

“Jan­dakot is a real as­set for the City of Cock­burn, as well as sur­round­ing ar­eas and re­gional WA.”

He said one of the bri­gade’s great­est tri­umphs was con­tain­ing the Banjup fire, which threat­ened hun­dreds of homes in Cock­burn’s south­east in 2014.

Bri­gade mem­bers worked around the clock, with its head­quar­ters used as a con­trol point to man­age the fire.

“For­tu­nately for the res­i­dents of the lo­cal area, that bat­tle was won due to there be­ing no retic­u­lated wa­ter in parts of our gazetted area and turn-out times to fire in­ci­dents need­ing to be im­pec­ca­ble,” Lt McDiarmid said.

Away from the bat­tle­ground, the bri­gade has had to fight off at­tempts to have it closed or moved from its Lid­de­low Road base in Banjup.

The bri­gade be­gan with a hand­ful of lo­cals co-or­di­nated by Cap­tain De­nis de Young in 1967.

Among the fledg­ling bri­gade’s re­sources were a trailer with wa­ter tubs, wheat bags and knap­sacks.

“The bri­gade has changed over 50 years and evolved in many ways for the bet­ter,” Lt McDiarmid said.

“It has gone from wheat bags and rake hoes to bulk wa­ter tankers and very mo­bile light tankers to sup­press fires.

“Fire trucks are now fit­ted with full GPS lo­ca­tion de­vices, fire blan­kets and full crew pro­tec­tion del­uge sys­tems.”

The bri­gade has 60 ac­tive fire­fight­ers and at­tends about 60 fires each year as far south as Esper­ance and as far north as the Kim­ber­ley.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey­mu­ni­ d470478

Vol­un­teers Gavin McDair­mid, Jar­rad Fowler, Bill Sal­ter, Les Cran­nage, Prue Filer, Steve Goedecke and Bob Had­drell.

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