Women's Burn Days

Due to the Covid situation throughout the State, and the constantly changing regulations by which we are governed, we have regretfully decided not to run the 2022 Cape Clear Womens Burn Days. To old friends, we will miss you. Your generous spirit and humour are what have made the days work so well. To our prospective new friends, fear not, it will be happening next year.

Most importantly, to you all – please, just stay safe. Brenda

"The plan was to give CFA women an opportunity to learn and experience roadside burning on their own, and to have some fun while doing it. The result was that all the participants learnt new skills, everybody had loads of fun, there was a lot of networking, a lot of sharing of experiences and problems as female firefighters, the birth of many new friendships and, at the end of the weekend, those members of our Brigade that were involved realised that they had learnt just as much from our guests as they had from us. Truly an example of volunteers helping volunteers". Brenda 2019

Women's Burn Days 2021

An absolutely fabulous weekend in Cape Clear. Over 90 participants, representing 39 brigades from all over Victoria. Going by the enthusiasm and smiles I would say there are a lot of happy people after the weekend.

Great Story on CFA News - link now expired

Terrific Videos on BallaratTV by 4KTV

Finally we were able to organise another Women's Burn Day. 90 female CFA firefighters came to Cape Clear to experience different ways of doing things, learn new skills, make new friends, share their experiences of being female firefighters, good or bad, and, above all, to have fun doing so. And they achieved just that. Days of pouring rain in the week prior to the event did not daunt us and we were rewarded by some "burning" weather each afternoon.

This year we were also very happy to welcome DCVO Alen Slijepcevic, D15 ACFO Eddie Lacko and D15 Commander Malcolm Hayes. Thank you for not only taking the time to visit the event but for mixing in with whatever was happening at the time and talking with our female guests while you were there. We greatly appreciate your support and understanding of this project, as we also appreciate the assistance we receive from our sponsors.

A number of the women had attended the previous Women's Burn Day and, for us, it was a great pleasure to be able to catch up with them again. A completely unanticipated joy was when two returning ladies told us that they were now fully qualified CFA truck drivers. At our last event in 2019 these two people had been given the opportunity to experience driving a fire truck, despite not having done so before, or being licensed. Two years later, and despite Covid 19, they had done their training and obtained their licenses. How good is that?

These are just two tangible examples of how giving female firefighters a chance to experience different aspects of firefighting in a relaxed and informal way can give them the confidence to go forward and do more, not only in their Brigades but in their lives generally. The WBD crew are humbled by the potential of this and feel privileged to be able to do it. We're looking forward to WBD 2022! Volunteers helping Volunteers certainly works.

Brenda April 2021

Day One

Kim and Jo-anne, Thanks Kim for the pic of the day

Bobby-lee, Michael, Kim and Jo-Anne

Day Two

Thanks Ethan for three great pics

Pics by Terry unless stated otherwise

The Invitation

Planning is well under way for the resumption of the Women's Burn Days
at Cape Clear

Dates are 27th and 28th of March 2021

Expressions of interest to Brenda 0408 558 710

Past Days
Tuesday 17 March 2020

Because of the potential corona virus risk for everybody involved, we have regretfully decided to postpone the Women's Burn Day due to take place on 28th and 29th March. We will keep you informed about when it is considered safe to reschedule this event.

Thank you to those who registered to attend and to those who offered their help. We hope to see you in the very near future. Brenda

Link to the Women's Burn Day Movie

Brenda's WBD Cape Clear Facebook page
Link to a great Ballarat Courier article

Saturday 30 March and Sunday 31 March 2019
A really big weekend - Women's Burn Days - Two massive days in Cape Clear on roadside burning for visitors from all across the state. A total of 72 Women from 32 brigades attended the two burn days

Day One
Meet and greet from 9am at the Cape Clear Recreation Reserve - with a cooked brunch and friendly faces. It was a good start. Michael had everyone's attention as he told the history of our brigade's burning of the roadsides for community protection. The creation of long firebreaks in the grasslands and the preservation of the native grassland species. How you do this safely is the key and the knowledge of how to do it was being shared with all participants this weekend.

Day One Crew

We had a bit of a change at 10.35am with a Code One fire call to a fire in a paddock in Springdallah. Michael had had a show of hands to see who had never been to a fire and made sure they were mixed with the crews that went to the fire. The fire report will make interesting reading with a page of names from brigades all over the state..

Back to Cape for a brilliant lunch followed by a bit of practical on the oval on the basics of roadside burning - 101 on "How to do Wet Break" - everyone had a go. Unfortunately we could not arrange good burning weather, but everyone had a good time on the oval.

Lots and Lots of smiles

All with heaps of support from our brigade members

Day Two
A new group arrived for the second Women's Burn Day day and for a master class in roadside burning. Once again greeted by a friendly welcome and a delicious breakfast/brunch for the travellers at the Cape Clear Recreation Reserve. The weather had been a little moist overnight but we were still optimistic we would be burning after lunch.

Once again Michael had everyone's attention as he told the history of our brigade's burning of the roadsides for community protection. The creation of long firebreaks in the grasslands and the preservation of the native grassland species. The history of significant and lethal fires in this part of the Western District is one of the main reasons we burn the roadsides. Looking back helps us plan for the future.

Plenty of bright yellows.

One thing we have to say is the meals organised and provided by Brenda and the catering crew were definitely 5 star - nobody left hungry - a big thanks to all who helped.

Most had a go at driving or putting a wet break down on the oval.

Michael talked everyone through some of the details about a recent burn on the adjacent road.

The tankers needed to be refilled after all the wet breaks that had been sprayed on the oval. Filling the tankers from the quickfill and bore tank at the Cape Recreation Reserve was a hands on and a new experience for many.

Once again Lots and Lots of smiles

It has been a very dry year in Cape Clear. Unfortunately we cannot control the weather and the drizzle returned and made it impossible to burn. Hope for better luck next year..

Day Three - When we get to do a roadside burn.

Early in the following week the weather cleared. With short notice we managed to put together a planned burn for Tuesday afternoon with some of the participants from the weekend. We are sad that not everyone had a go at roadside burning. We planned an afternoon burn in Ryans and Derwent Jacks roads. A SMEACS briefing in the Cape Clear fire station followed by an onsite briefing by Michael at the Ryan's road burn site.

A bit of a chat and After Action Review of the Ryans rd burn.

We moved on to Derwent Jacks Rd - leaving a HVP slip on at Ryans rd as the Tail End Charlie.

The north side of Derwent Jacks Rd we are burning is about 2.5kms long and is a prime example of preservation of remnant native grasslands as part of a roadside burning program - a major proportion of the grass is now native kangaroo grass.
Light winds - It begins with three lighters

Getting ready to light the second part

A steady controlled burn

A good chimney effect - with the smoke elevating within the burn zone

Pause at the bridge for a bit of drone watching and a " look what we have burnt".

Phalaris near the bridge

A perfect burn. Made it to the end of Derwent Jacks rd.

A fantastic few days in Cape Clear.
We would like to thank all those who contributed to make the Women's Burn Days such a huge success. The CFA, Hancock Victorian Plantations (HVP), Golden Plains Shire, Western Plains Motors and especially all the volunteers from Cape Clear Fire Brigade who willingly gave their time and expertise.

Thanks to Dylan and Peter from Falcon Aerial Photography for the countless hours they have spent on this project and the great flexibility they have shown working around us to turn the ideas and into a great story.

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