VIC – Dalrymple Rd area Sunbury /Riddell Grass Fire, Sunday 9/2/2014.
Weather patterns have been unusual with sustained high temperatures prevailing over the past three weeks. This has led to a rapid drying of recently green lawns and paddocks around Sunbury. On the day..small clouds of smoke were noticed which soon billowed. The unmistakable sound of sirens were heard leaving town. This sound has been a comfort over many years, knowing that the CFA were always ready to do their duty. However, due to the previously mentioned weather and dry conditions the Grass fire in Riddells Creek soon took hold. At the same time a fire was moving quickly from the Calder Highway in a south easterly direction spreading rapidly among acreage homesites along Dalrymple Road.
The CFA were stretched and did a magnificent job of preserving most of the olive groves and processing buildings at the Pitruzzello Estate on the corner of Deverall Road and Calder Highway. Some residents whilst saying that they thought they would be O.K. were very happy to accept help from passers-by as the fire quickly showed it had a mind of it’s own.
Eyewitness accounts of the accuracy of the water bombing by Elvis and other helicopters also needs mentioning. Looking over the area now it is striking to note the number of homes that have been saved given the visible proximity of the fire.
Two members of the Sunbury RRT made a sortie round the Emergency Services road blocks and were rewarded by grateful responses from motorists and residents trapped in the traffic jam as bottled water was handed out to approx 150 people. Many enquiries as to who the RRT was and surprise that it was a volunteer organisation. Also of note was the number of enquiries as to fire conditions road directions etc by trapped motorists. Police officers remaining on duty without a meal break for hours grateful of some food sourced for them. The fulfilling of “Duty”by all the emergency service personnel should be a lesson to all. They certainly deserve any backup and support that can be extended to them.