Modified fire-fighting units help to manage NT blazes

Beef Central, 14/12/2011

The Northern Territory Government says 4WD-mounted fire-fighting units designed by one of their rangers have played an important role in helping to manage fires within the territory’s parks and reserves this year.

Earlier this year with an intense fire-fighting season approaching, concerns were raised about the occupational health and safety, ease of operation and functionality of some of the off-the-shelf grass fire units used by the NT Parks and Wildlife department.

Ormiston Gorge park ranger Simon Rathbone designed a series of modifications to existing grass-fire units based on models he had worked with during his experience with conservation agencies in southern Australia.

The modifications were completed at Ingkerreke Outstations Resource Services, an Alice Springs-based Aboriginal organisation with a commercial fabrication workshop.

Key features of the modified units include a more robust fabrication; an incorporated lifting frame for safer lifting, loading and tie down procedures; a low mounted pump and motor to minimise the need for personnel to climb onto the back of the vehicle to operate the unit; a foam injection system; storage rack for crew equipment and a driver operated spray jet that can be utilised in any fire flashover situation.

NT Parks and Wildlife Minister Karl Hampton said Parks and Wildlife rangers had played a huge role managing fires within parks and reserves this year and helping Bushfires NT where necessary.

“Thanks to the vision and foresight of ranger Simon Rathbone, based at Ormiston Gorge, there are now three new or replaced slip on grass fire units that are easier and safer to operate than standard grass fire units,” Mr Hampton said.

The 2011 dry season represented one of the worse fire seasons on record in the territory, with approximately 200,000 square kilometres of bushland and desert grasses lost to wildfire. 


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