Linton Bushfire 1998

Linton bushfires 1998

The tragic loss of five firefighters in the Linton blaze on 2 December 1998 marked the beginning of a new era for firefighter safety at CFA.

In a fire that had started on private property and spread through more than 600 hectares of bush and farmland, tragedy struck when a savage wind change swept through earlier than expected.

After 8pm that day, at a forest fire north of the small town of Linton near Ballarat, two tankers – one from Geelong City and one from Geelong West - were engulfed by flames after the change in wind direction.

The Geelong City crew had more water on board and were able to protect themselves as the flames leapt to treetop height and raged over them. The Geelong West crew was trapped in their truck and unable to escape or fight back. All five volunteers perished.

We remember and honour the lives of Christopher Evans, Jason Thomas, Matthew Armstrong, Stuart Davidson and Garry Vredeveldt from Geelong West. We will always reflect on the Linton fires and the practices learned from them in protecting today’s CFA volunteers.

Changes since the Linton Fire

The Linton fire resulted in the biggest change in CFA history for training requirements for our members. Following the deaths at Linton, a coronial inquest recommended changes be made to planning, procedures and CFA equipment. The learnings about safety and procedures in a truck burn over are now used by firefighters today. Minimum skills for firefighters were introduced as part of that change which is now mandatory for all new firefighters.

The Linton Staff Ride

As a learning and memorial experience, CFA ran the ‘Linton staff ride’ for several years. Occurring at the site of the fire, the staff ride invited members to ‘walk in the shoes’ of the firefighters on that fateful day. By recreating the experience through storytelling, the ride was also used as a way to train Incident Management Teams and firefighters who might one day be faced with the same situation.



Page last updated:  Wednesday, 20 September 2023 4:07:28 PM