Wimmera fire-fighting season preparations: Planned burning, prevention actions taken

PROJECT fire-fighters have been preparing for a busy fire-fighting season with planned burning and prevention actions. 

Department of Environment and Primary Industries’ Grampians land and fire regional manager Hamish Webb said fire-fighters would continue to undertake general preparedness works in the coming weeks.

“This includes an extensive track clearing program, planned burn preparation works, preparing and maintaining air bases and general fire-fighting skills updates, as well as respond to fires when called into action,” he said.

Fire-fighters learnt new skills at the department’s fire-fighter camp at Anglesea.

“The newly trained recruits will bring the total number of project fire-fighters in the Grampians region to 86 for this fire season,” Mr Webb said. 

“The annual event at the Eumeralla Scout Camp is the training ground for rookie fire-fighters. They then put those skills to the test.

“It was a week of dirt, dust and physical demands balanced by theory, safety and site tours – a good mix of classroom and field-based activities.

“The camp brought together new recruits and seasoned fire-fighters from the department, Parks Victoria and CFA, based in different locations, who had a range of perspectives and real-life experience.

“Because everyone shared their fire-fighting experience, the recruits gained an understanding of what it’s really like out there on the fire line, whether in the desert or dense forest.”

Mr Webb said when the new trainees returned to their work centres, they were put through further onsite training and practical application of their new skills by more experienced crews. 

“This gives them the confidence to actually do the job of preparing for fire danger weather,” he said.

This year, the Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation and the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation natural resource management staff also attended the camp to build up the necessary skills to manage fire on their traditional lands.

“Five Aboriginal rangers attended the camp and the department will continue to work with them to build their capability to manage fire on their land,” Mr Webb said.

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