With a brutal bushfire season on the cards this summer, the Capertee Valley RFS is better equipped than ever before to tame the flames, adding a mammoth Category 6 Bulk Water Tanker to their firefighting arsenal.
This week, the team received the keys to a huge 9000-litre state-of-the-art fire truck, which will provide critical firefighting and emergency responses that are currently unmet in the wider Capertee, Glen Alice and Ilford communities.
Independent Member for Calare, Andrew Gee, said the handover of the $500,000 tanker follows Get Ready Weekend, which urged residents to ensure their property is bushfire-safe.
“I was in Capertee during the 2019/2020 Black Summer Bushfires. In a nightmare scenario for the close-knit community, the area was almost completely surrounded by blazes with firies relying on finite tank water to fill vital firefighting trucks,” Mr Gee said.
“In the middle of a drought, and with no connection to town water, a small, borrowed water tanker was brought in to assist, but it was unable to traverse the rugged bushland, so RFS crews were forced to leave the unrelenting fireground to refill their fire trucks. Council trucks with plastic tanks could also not be brought close to fires as the tanks could melt.
“One thing we know about Australia is that bushfires will come again. With dry and warmer conditions expected this spring and summer, and high fuel loads in a number of areas, there could be a dangerous bushfire season ahead.
“For almost a decade, the local community and the local RFS brigade have been crying out for a locally owned and based Bulk Water Tanker to supply and refill their fire trucks to keep people and properties safe.
“This week, the Capertee RFS has received the keys to a mammoth Category 6 Bulk Water Tanker to boost their firefighting capabilities. It can hold 9,000 litres of water – that’s enough to fill six to eight fire trucks at a firefront so firefighters won’t need to leave the fireground to refill.
“The tanker can also assist local responses to motor vehicle accidents on the Castlereagh Highway, which links Mudgee with Lithgow, the Blue Mountains and Sydney. It features a fully automated water cannon enabling firefighters to deploy water within the safety of the cab, which is especially useful during road accidents.
“I saw first-hand the devastation of the bushfires and the dire need for a Cat 6 Tanker for this area. It’s fantastic that this vital piece of fighting equipment will now be parked at the Capertee RFS station, and will help protect life, property and livestock in Capertee and the surrounding district during fire events for many years to come,” said Mr Gee.
The Capertee and District Progress Association received $500,000 in funding for this project under the former Australian Government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants program, and Mr Gee worked closely with the Capertee and District Progress Association to get the application lodged.