This article is based upon a conversation between Bernie and Richard Rawson in August 2018, and it is likely that it describes the first ever use of such a large helicopter in a wildfire control operation.
On the 17 February 1983, at the same time as the State was in terrible strife from the fires of 16 February (Ash Wednesday), a fire started in what was then the FCV District of Myrtleford, where Bernie Evans was the District Forester and, the way things worked at that time, he was also by right the "fire boss".
In 1939, Victoria was one of the first locations in the world to trial the ‘bombing’ of bush-fires using aircraft, and in 1967 the FCV made the first operational use of aerial-firebombing in Australia.
Overseas experience, and earlier local trials, had suggested that mixing water with chemicals, to create a fire retardant, made operations far more efficective. Retardants were subsequently found to be particularly useful in slowing the spread of lightning-caused fires in inaccessible terrain, thereby improving the likely success, and safety of follow-up ground crews.
This photo gallery includes all photos in the article below and will have more added over time.
The Synopsis relating to Fire Management in Plantations that you can find via this link was finalised in 2008. Although it is not specific to Victoria it does contain much of the relevant Victorian knowledge base.
The Introduction to the Synopsis says, in part:
Softwood plantations play an important role in the economics of both Australia and New Zealand. The pine species used in these plantations are relatively sensitive to fire so effective fire management is an essential part of plantation management.
This CD contains the Softwood Plantation Fire Synopsis which provides detailed information collated from a wide range of sources on the fire behaviour in softwood plantations, and of the land management practices that can be taken to protect these plantations, and adjoining properties and communities.
The key Synopsis findings are summarized into a four page brochure that has been structured to provide easy to read information for land managers, plantation owners, fire authorities and local authorities and communities.Included on the CD is also a bibliography on fire behaviour and management on pine plantations.The references compiled constitute a wealth of fire related studies that have been carried out in pine plantations in Australia and elsewhere in the last 40 years.
The Fire Synopsis and the brochure were compiled by the Forest Fire Management Group (FFMG), a sub committee of Forestry and Forest Production Committee of the Primary Industries Ministerial Council. The documents have been endorsed by the Australasian Fire Authorities Council Ltd (AFAC).
"It will be evident from the above egocentric saga that my time at the VSF was, in many ways, pivotal in a serendipitous and opportunistic career. It was a unique experience, worthwhile in so many ways, in a unique place."
Alan forwarded this paper to the FCRPA some time ago.
Gerald (Gerry) Griffin entered the VSF Creswick in 1942. His first posting with the Commission, in 1945, was to the Assessment Branch; then to the Bruthen District followed by the Corryong Sub-district of the Upper Murray Forest District.