From Wandilo to Linton
- Lessons learned from an indepth analysis of 40 years of
Australian Bushfire Tanker Burnovers.
The following is reprinted here with the permission of the author
Bruce Paix and is a
reproduction of the paper presented at the International Association
of Wildland Fire 3rd Annual Safety Summit, Sydney
Australia, 2-5 Nov 1999.
The burnover of the Geelong West Tanker at Linton in 1998, with the
loss of 5 crew, has sparked a widespread review of Tanker protection
by Australian fire services. Much of the interest has focussed on
"active defense" of the vehicle using hoselines and sprinklers. This
paper examines all known fire tanker burnover incidents in Australia,
including 5 cases in which "active defenses" were used. These cases,
and a theoretical calculation of the thermal energy loading
experienced during a tanker burnover, suggest that the level of
protection afforded by active defenses is limited, hence attention to
passive safety features is also required. Also discussed are a variety
of vulnerabilities identified with existing tanker designs. In many
cases these deficiencies, and their solutions, have been repeatedly
identified in the past. Despite this, existing tanker designs continue
to include unnecessary faults, and modern truck construction may be
introducing new problems. Recognition of these deficiencies will allow
significant improvements in vehicular resistance to fire with modest
From Wandilo to Linton, lessons
learned from an indepth analysis of 40 years of Australian
Bushfire Tanker Burnovers
Table One - Chronology
of Burnover Incidents in Australia
Appendix One - A
theoretical calculation of the minimum water requirements for
self defense sprinkler systems during fire tanker burnovers
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Bruce Paix, MB BS
B Med Sc (hons).
Captain, Macclesfield Brigade, South Australian Country Fire
Box 72 ECHUNGA 5153 Australia.
Last updated 4 November 2014