Pioneering community fire tanks to combat bushfires

Community fire tanks aid in bushfire preparedness, allowing faster filling of tankers and other fire fighting appliances.


Mt Torrens Community Fire Tank, Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Photo Credit: Tim Harper via Pioneer Water Tanks.

With global warming a reality and bushfires on the rise, Minderoo Foundation has partnered with the South Australian government, local councils and Pioneer Water Tanks (SA) to provide large community fire tanks (CFTs) for targeted areas in the Adelaide Hills.

CFTs provide bulk water supplies for farmers and local Country Fire Service (CFS) brigades battling fires and protecting local communities.

Minderoo Foundation’s three 216,000 litre tanks at Harrogate, Mount Torrens and Mount Crawford join seven other tanks on the Adelaide Plains following the tragic Pinery Fires. There are also nine smaller CFTs in the south east.

While a community fire tank is used to fill fire appliances and farm fire units, its primary purpose is to service bulk water carriers.

Dams are not ideal for bulk tankers and in drought years dams become dry. Community fire tanks provide permanent water storage and are fitted with anti-vortex nozzles plus 100mm and 125mm couplings to fill tankers in minutes – many times quicker than mains water.

South Australia has invested in a fleet of 61 bulk tankers to shuttle water from CFTs to fire appliances on the fire front.

In addition, the Mount Crawford CFT will serve fire bomber aircraft and helicopters based at its airstrip.

While ground crews extinguish most fires, aircraft can save lives and buildings with strategic drops.

Time is all-important when fighting fires and large, local community fire tanks dramatically cut travel and fill times for bulk tankers – which, in turn, support volunteers at the front and reduce the structures damaged or lost, such as the approximately 680 lost in the Black Summer fires.

Moving forward, Minderoo Foundation will continue to build strategic partnerships Australia-wide that will allow key bushfire fighting assets to be deployed in dangerous fire zones.

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