OPOTIKI Volunteer Fire Brigade members Barry Hennessy and Adrian Harray are keen to go to work in the new “smoke chaser”. Photos Sven Carlsson OS0244-01

THE Opotiki Volunteer Fire Brigade has taken delivery of two new fire appliances that will increase its ability to fight rural fires.

The two main appliances are built for working in a town environment, along highways and main roads – not out in the sticks.

With last week’s addition of a Hino 500 truck named Opotiki 9675 and a Toyota Hilux “smoke chaser” the brigade is now much better equipped to fight fires in the deep countryside.

Senior firefighter Barry Hennessy said the Opotiki 9675 rural tanker carried 5800 litres of water, which was three times that of the main appliances.

“It also has a portable dam that can be filled with 7000 litres of water,” he said.

“It’s like a big bladder that can be filled and drawn from.”

Once the portable dam is filled with water, a fire engine can draw water from it, or the brigade can use smaller, portable pumps for driving the hoses.

“The dam allows for water shuttling by a tanker that, once it has filled the dam, can go and get another load.”

The new tanker, which also carries other specialist rural firefighting equipment, will mainly respond to fires in non-water-reticulated areas.

The “smoke chaser” is suitable for fighting vegetation fires where the big trucks cannot get to.

“It’s a new Toyota Hilux that has been fitted with a radio and a 300-litre water tank,” Mr Hennessy said.

The water tank, the pump arrangement and a container for foam-generating chemicals are mounted on a sliding tray that gets pulled out once the truck has stopped.

“Adding foam to the water makes it more efficient for fighting fires,” Mr Hennessy said.

The brigade now has five vehicles: the two main appliances, the rural tanker, the smoke chaser and the support van.

Mr Hennessy said the brigade was keen to hear from prospective members.
“Being a firefighter is a great way to build friendships for life, while serving the community,” he said.

sven.carlsson@thebeacon.co.nz