The Rolling Hills Fire, Dublin, August 2005
It was August 7th, 2005. A warm but not ridiculously hot day. In the late afternoon, I was outside and started hearing sirens. Soon a fire engine raced past the house and up the hill...I turned to see where it went, and immediately noticed a large cloud of smoke billowing up just over the hill. Some of the photo's follow, along with the story....
So, that is the view I had after walking out of the front of the house. It turns out this fire was started by a person using a trimmer in their yard.....
As you see, the line of flames was advancing across the hill towards the houses on Rolling Hills drive. Although the wind was mostly blowing the flames away from our house, the advance and gusty wind was enough to have us watching carefully. As I took this photo, I am less than 50 yards from our house....
Pretty soon the fire department are arriving. They are amazingly quick and prepared - we had multiple fire trucks, bulldozers, helicopters all within 30 minutes....
The first helicopter was from the Regional Park Service. He arrived without a water bucket, and landed on the hill whilst the fire department connected one up...
The second helicopter arrived fully equiped. It was a Fire Service helicopter, and did several runs. Here you can see the neighbors watching as me makes a water drop right on the front line. It was VERY effective.....
Meantime, the hill has a farm track that allowed them to attack from above. Houses down below had people with hosepipes in their yards, but that wasn't really making much difference.
The flames were still going strong in some areas (these photo's are in chronological order). So although the fireman had one part beaten down, another area lower was still flaring up. The fence it is burning through marks the border between the housing development and the farm land, so at this point the lower flames are only a few feet (less than 20) from some peoples back yards. I'll spare you the concern and let you know that apart from a few singed fences, no flames actually made it into anyones yard and no property was damaged.
The fire department soon had both helicopters working and dropping water. This is the Regional Parks one which landed for a short period on the hilltop to get the water bucket fitted, and here we see him just lifting off again. Although you see no smoke here, a change of angle by about 20 degrees to the left would yield the photo above this one!
With two helicopters, and the full local file service, the fire was knocked down in about 20 minutes. They spent an hour or so mopping up and ensuring there were no flare-ups.
Within a month, the hillside started to recover. By the end of the winter, you would never know it had happened........
SimonPhoto.Net - July 5th 2007
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