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Reel Systems Deployed to
Flood Peat Burning

Emergency Flooding to Extinguish Peat Fires

The bushfires that tore through south-west Victoria 17 March 2018 and burned over 15,000 hectares of land left behind a toxic challenge for firefighters and emergency management services. Peat fires burned continuously for weeks releasing deadly carbon monoxide into the air, which required the evacuation of local residents near Cobden, Victoria.

Peat fires are extremely difficult to manage as they spread underground and are not easy to detect. The CFA tried using their water tankers and even helicopters to try and extinguish them and after a couple of weeks plus considerable expense, decided that the most logical and effective way to manage the crisis was by flooding the area. The major Ottway Pipeline was just 4 km away so a plentiful resource of water was available.

Mike Jones from Agmek in Ballarat was contracted to set up a flexible pipeline to the peat fire zone as he had 4 km of Waterlord® layflat hose available on reels, ready to deploy immediately. Mike was able to connect to the Ottway Pipeline at a valve and from there he unrolled the 6” Waterlord® hose all the way to the fire. With just one assistant he managed to have the 4 km of hose connected in 36 hours.

Water was soon flowing through at 50 L/sec and this rapidly contained the fire behind an inactive edge. This was the first time that such a method was used to fight a peat fire in Victoria. The hose was deployed with minimal environmental impact and was retrieved a few weeks later, back onto the reels. The full 4 km of hose was transported back to his depot on 2 truckloads only.

Key learnings:

  • Layflat hose is quick to deploy
  • Layflat can handle high pressure
  • Reel systems assist with handling

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