Forestry firefighters in training ahead of official start to the fire season

More than 80 Forestry Corporation firefighters will hone their skills in firefighting and fire command and control in two five-day training camps held at Laurel Hill Forest Lodge near Tumbarumba, in preparation for the fire season this summer.

Forestry Corporation's Tumut based Forest Protection Manager Charlie Taylor said the training involved staff from the local area as well as other areas of the State, including Bombala, South Coast and Bathurst and was a crucial component of fire season preparation.

“Forestry Corporation is responsible for preventing and managing fires in two million hectares of State forests state-wide, which includes 95,000 Ha’s of pine plantation in the Tumut, Batlow and Tumbarumba area and we also send crews to assist on large bushfires around the state., so we need to ensure we are at the top of our game,” Mr Taylor said.

“The hot and dry conditions earlier in the season in the north of NSW has already required the deployment of local crews to battle wildfires, so this training camp is a timely skills refresher as the season gets underway.

“We take our firefighting responsibilities incredibly seriously and our training ensures everyone from our most experienced firefighter through to our newest recruit is fit and ready to be deployed to the fire front in an emergency.

“We also spend the cooler months preparing roads and fire trails, completing hazard reduction burns and upgrading our equipment to reduce the risk of fires and ensure we’re ready to respond quickly if a fire does break out.”

Fire Management Officer Cameron Wade said the Laurel Hill training camps are the last of four annual firefighter training camps to be held around the state ahead of fire season.

“Every year we bring our forest firefighters together for pre-season training camps to refresh and improve their practical skills and fitness ahead of the fire season,” Mr Wade said.

“The camp will involve a combination of classroom learning and practical testing of skills for new recruits and experienced firefighters increasing their training levels to advanced firefighter or crew leader level. We also hold fitness tests and pre-season fire days in each region to put all our firefighting staff through their paces in realistic emergency scenarios.

In Addition to the training camp, Forestry Corporation firefighters from the local area will be put through their paces this week, with two days of scenario training and refreshing the use of firefighting equipment, in preparation for fire season.

Forestry Corporation's Stewardship and Fire Manager Charlie Taylor said firefighting was part of the job for all Forestry Corporation staff, so as we head into fire season, we are holding fire days like this around the state to ensure our firefighting skills are up-to-date and we are ready to quickly respond to a fire.

“Forestry Corporation’s investment in training our firefighting staff, enhancing fire control rooms and equipment, upgrading fire trails and staffing fire towers to aid rapid fire detection has proven very successful in protecting local forests and communities from damaging fire."

To find out more about Forestry Corporation’s fire training, view the video at https://youtu.be/VoWU284o8EA or visit www.forestrycorporation.com.au

Media contact: Amanda McLeod 9407 4265 / 0408779 903