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Fire Campaigns

The Toolangi Fire Brigade is proud to be involved in a number of fire campaigns over the years.  The SE corner of Australia is said to be one of the most fire prone areas in the world.  This includes SA, Victoria, NSW and Tasmania.

Prior to 1939, Toolangi had been affected ;by several fires in 1900, 1912, and 1926.  In 1939, after a long, dry hot summer that followed a drought that had lasted several years, Victoria experienced one of the worse fires in its history.  Prior to 13 January, many fires were already burning, as was the case in Toolangi.  On Saturday 8th, the fire was already approaching the outskirts of Toolangi and being pushed along with hot windy conditions which continued during the following week.  These conditions caused the separate fires to combine and  create a massive fire front which swept mainly over the mountain country in the north east of Victoria, and along the coast in the south west.   A total of 69 sawmills were burned and 71 lives lost, one being a member of a pioneer family of Toolangi.  Over 1,000 homes were burned, and the townships of Narbethong, Noojee, Woods Point, Nayook West and Hill End were destroyed.  Large areas of Mountain Ash state forest, and other valuable timbers, were killed.  Click here to view the map of the 1939 fires.

Although there were many fires during the intervening years, the first fire campaign Toolangi assisted in was the 1983 Ash Wednesday Fires.  The tanker and 5 crew members were called away to assist with the fires around Cockatoo in the Dandenong Ranges, and didn't return home until 3 days later.  While the tanker was absent 3 private trucks were set up with water tanks on the back.  These were set up to protect Toolangi and the surrounding community in the absence of our tanker.  We also had step up crews from Healesville and the surrounding communities to man the station 24 hours, until our tanker and crew returned.  During this time, a fire was deliberately lit on the side of the road on the Melba Highway.  Fortunately, for Toolangi and Castella the wind eased and the fire was bought under control fairly quickly.  The Ash Wednesday fires claimed 72 lives and 2,000 homes were destroyed, as well as thousands of livestock.  Click here to view the map of the 1983 Ash Wednesday Fires.

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