Australian Institute of Alpine Studies

Bushfires 2003

Ken Green, 27 Jan 2003 - Kosciuszko NP, New South Wales

Hi all,

Since the  report I sent out to the AIAS on Wednesday I have got a medical clearance for my ex broken leg and have been back on the fire line as rake-hoe grunt. Moving from Field Intelligence means that I have not been able to keep up with all of the fires so the following is a bit of a personal account. I heard that Valentines Hut has gone and I know that it has burned through Orange Hut and up onto the Kerries. Most of the subalpine from Perisher to Sponars Inn and (on the south side of the road) on to Rennix Gap has burned. Yesterday the cross country ski trail area at Perisher Valley was burning as was the area up towards Wheatleys Gap. Also yesterday on the remote end of a 4 km bulldoxer track overlooking the Thredbo River, the temperature at 10 a.m. was 33 degrees C and the helicopter trying to help us with water bombing was hitting 70 km per hour winds. With the fire closing in on our exit back on the Kosciuszko Road at Rennix Gap we got the order - I was amazed at how quickly it spread. We stopped that one and other fires that sprang up near the Lodge and Cottage 1. My major concern was the up to 60 year old Kosciusko herbarium at Cottage 16 but in the little time I had I could only go around the building and remove all flammable material. Luckily it was not threatened at any stage (if you exclude five metre flames on a 300 metre front just 200 metres away). That was stopped at a freshly cut bulldozer line and we had just emptied the whole water supply for Waste Point and were setting up a quick-fill pump on the shores of Lake Jindabyne when the easterly came in and things quietened down. We left a night crew there and drove back to Jindabyne through two active fires on the Waste Point Road and one active and two dead fires between there and Jindabyne. I wasn't interested in any fire reports last night and just came home and crashed. This morning I awoke to the gentle pitter patter of rain on our roof. I await news as to what happened overnight.


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