Forestry firefighters prepare for busy season in five-day Bathurst camp

Around 40 Forestry Corporation of NSW firefighters are learning and honing their firefighting skills this week in a five-day training camp at Bathurst.

As the official fire season starts early in parts of NSW, staff from the Bathurst, Hunter, South Coast and Western region forest protection areas are being trained in essential firefighting skills such as fire command and control, fire safety, leadership and general firefighting.

Forestry Corporation's Fire Manager Tim McGuffog said the training camp was a crucial component of fire season preparation.

“Forestry Corporation is responsible for preventing and managing fires in two million hectares of State forests across NSW,” Mr McGuffog said.

“We take our firefighting responsibilities incredibly seriously – 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.

“We also send crews to help on large bushfires on neighbouring private property, other land tenures and even interstate and internationally, so we need to ensure we are at the top of our game.

“The hot and dry conditions mean we’ve already had crews battling bushfires right across the state and so far the season is looking to be potentially serious fire-wise.

The Bathurst training camp is one of a series of firefighter training camps held around the state ahead of the fire season. The camps train new recruits and upskill the more experienced firefighters.

“Every year we also bring our forest firefighters together for pre-season training days to refresh and improve their practical skills, and to reiterate safety messages and standard operating procedures,” Mr McGuffog said.

“Staff undertake fitness tests and pre-season fire days in each forest protection area to put all our firefighting staff through their paces in realistic emergency scenarios.

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

Forestry Corporation spends the cooler months preparing roads and fire trails, completing hazard reduction burns, upgrading equipment and ensuring staff are ready to respond quickly if a fire breaks out.

Find out more about Forestry Corporation’s fire management.

Media contact: Rod Campbell 0428 058 549