“Beating the fires”

Dave recalls life as a fire fighter in 1976, fighting grass fires with beaters, continually, and waiting for a fire truck to follow up later and dampen down the ground.

Dave Matthews: I am Dave Matthews and I was in the fire brigade in 1976. I had been in the job for about two years, and it was the worst season of all for grass fires. You would just about put one out, then you would get sent to another, and another, and then another, and then another. And it was a matter of just ferrying water if there wasn’t a water source around, and you would beat the fires out best you could with fire beaters, which were like flat canvasses you had on sticks, and hoped the fire engine would come back with a full tank of water to damp down afterwards. That is how it went all on. Nothing was quite that bad again, but obviously we did get dry summers occasionally


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