1985 Mount Canobolas blaze remains worse | Photos

The size of the Mount Canobolas fire still remains vastly smaller than past blazes in the 1980s, with people on the ground saying lessons learned since then have paid off. 

According to January editions of the Central Western Daily in 1985, the fire then burned through about 6000 hectares, including 83 hectares of state conservation land.

So far, the fire which took hold on Saturday has burned through just 1666 hectares. 

While the current fire is still active, Lidster Rural Fire Brigade captain John Sturgeon remembered his ‘80s firefighting experiences were very different.

He spent at least a week at the 1985 and another in 1982, which started in a private property. 

“This time around, we’ve got excellent communication and larger aircraft, which can carry a lot more water to help with fire and spots of fire,” he said.

He recalled the fire engines in the ‘80s were former army vehicles and even trailers. 

“Now they’re modern four-wheel drives with crew protection,” he said. 

Captain Sturgeon said even protective firefighting uniforms were unheard of 30 years ago.

“We were out in pairs of shorts or jeans, there were no hard hats to protect your head,” he said.

Rural Fire Service media liaison Bruce Reynolds was 17 during the 1985 blaze and said pine forest plantations changed in the aftermath.

“Forestry left more fire trails and planted trees in blocks,” he said. 


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