Via mailing list today
Sturt Police are treating a series of four fires at the Belair National Park this morning as suspicious. Just after 8.30am, a police patrol on Upper Sturt Road as part of Operation Nomad duties, spotted smoke coming from the Belair National Park. CFS crews were notified with a further three fires reported inside the Belair National Park. A number of nearby residents were evacuated before the fires were contained. An estimated total of 15 hectares were damaged in the fires. Sturt Police investigating are treating the cause of the fires as suspicious Anyone with information on the fires or suspicious persons or vehicles seen in or around the Belair National Park this morning are asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. The public are asked to remain vigilant in bushfire prone areas and report any suspicious activity to police on 131 444.
Now that it has been confirmed that the fires were caused by a freight trainI'm not aware of it being confirmed yet, it is just the current main theory. The conclusion of the investigation will come later.
... I wonder how long it will be before the residents that live along the corridor and surrounding areas start jumping up and down again about wanting the rail line diverted around the Adelaide Hills?.Read the AdelaideNow comments, they are already going at it. They are entirely correct in this instance, pro-rail people will just have to shut up and let them vent their righteous anger.
I wouldn't be surprised if this weeks or next weeks Hills and Valley Messenger make a mention of it.
When was the last time it was confirmed that a fire in the Adelaide Hills was started by a train?There have probably been small ones a few times since, but the last notable train-caused fire I remember which got away in the Adelaide Hills was one in the summer of either 2010-11 or 2011-12 (I can't remember which) which threatened houses on the outskirts of Nairne. The CFS stopped it three metres short of the first property it would have reached (radiant heat damaged the fence and smoke damaged the house) which it was rumoured had PN giving the owner a six figure sum large enough to cover full repairs and enough extra to make it worth their while to accept a non-disclosure agreement.
Justapax.It wouldn't need to be a "proper" van as the only required function would be somewhere to look out and observe the line and a couple of portable radios to contact the loco and emergency services. Australia being an inventive country we could get away with using any of the following alternatives instead of a 'proper' brake van:
The brake van sounds a good idea, now, where do you find them.
I believe Mt Lofty would be a more versatile location to base a couple of hi-rail fire trucks than Belair.
DEWNR already have fire units in the Belair Park and also at Cleland and Mt Lofty Gardens. I'm thinking the ARTC Unit(s) would be in joint service with DEWNR with priority use on the railway.I'd prefer them to be in joint CFS-ARTC service, not DEWNR-ARTC service, to avoid them being exclusively focued on use on the short bit through Belair NP.
What would they do at Mt Lofty station for the 363 days a year it isn't a Catastrophic fire ban day? They cost a lot and having them sit around doing nothing is a waste of resources.For the other 49-50 weeks without Extreme/Catastrophic fire conditions they would be available to Mount Lofty Group brigades for conventional CFS duties, based at whichever of Stirling, Aldgate or Bridgewater has the most convenient facilities and rail access point.
In any case fighting fires away from the railway corridor may well protect the corridor if it is threatened.Very true. That is why you would want them available for train escorts when there is a high danger of a train-caused fire getting out of control, and doing conventional CFS duties for when there are actual fires and no need to escort that trains which would be kept out of the area.
You'll have all the rail enthusiasts in the hills rolling up to join a hills CFS brigade just to get on the Hi-Rail stint!!And that's a bad thing? - I for one could make a case each way... That said, most CFS units 'suggest' you live within four minutes travel of the station, that would probably rule out most 'rail enthusiasts'.
I'd prefer them to be in joint CFS-ARTC service, not DEWNR-ARTC service, to avoid them being exclusively focued on use on the short bit through Belair NP.I'd agree with most of that. If the ARTC attached a 'fire arm' to a relevant CFS they could be used far more widely than the tiny National Park sector. Given there's only one movement at a time between loops there's scope for having units chase up and down movements between their two designated loops. As JAP notes, it's probably not necessary to follow a train all the way up to Mile End, so maybe in that case turning and waiting for the next down service at Mitcham is an option.
For the other 49-50 weeks without Extreme/Catastrophic fire conditions they would be available to Mount Lofty Group brigades for conventional CFS duties, based at whichever of Stirling, Aldgate or Bridgewater has the most convenient facilities and rail access point.
Alternatively, an even better spot to locate them would be at the Balhannah ARTC depot, with the train escorts on Extreme/Catastrophic fire condition days starting at the Balhannah loop, reversing somewhere in the metro area (the vacant land out the back of Mitcham station?) and returning to Balhannah with the next train. The other 49-50 weeks they would be available to Onkaparinga Group brigades to the north of Balhannah and Heysen Group brigades to the south as required.
Very true. That is why you would want them available for train escorts when there is a high danger of a train-caused fire getting out of control, and doing conventional CFS duties for when there are actual fires and no need to escort that trains which would be kept out of the area.