As one of NSW’s four firefighting agencies and responsible for over two million hectares of State forests, we are an integral part of the 2019-2020 bushfire response.
The current fire situation is significant and it is managed by the Rural Fire Service (RFS) – our firefighters fall in under the RFS as part of the State’s coordinated firefighting effort.
We work closely with the RFS and other firefighting agencies to protect homes, community infrastructure and the State forest estate.
Our firefighting force
Forestry Corporation firefighters are specialists in large forest fires.
Our staff are experienced onground firefighters, and also use heavy machinery synonymous with forestry operations to help build containment lines and keep bushfires in check.
Local harvesting contractors, contracted air support and international forest-firefighting crews have also been engaged to help tackle these fires.
Once the fires are contained, Forestry Corporation will work to get a complete picture of the impact across various ages of tree stands.
These fires are large, their impact great and the recovery will be challenging. But timber is a vital product – the ultimate renewable product – and we will regrow areas affected.
We are committed to working with the local timber industry on recovery plans and salvaging burnt logs across the plantations as soon as possible.
Prepared for the challenge
This bushfire season has been the worst experienced, but there is no doubt that without preparation could have been much worse.
We take our fire preparation very seriously and work closely with the RFS and other firefighting authorities to prepare for and manage firefighting throughout NSW.
The majority of our staff are trained firefighters and each year we also recruit around 200 seasonal staff to work on firefighting as well.
In the lead up to the fire season, we:
- put staff through fire camps to refresh and update their skills
- maintain our network of fire trails and roads which are important for access should a fire break out
- check all our equipment is ready and fit for purpose, including our network of fire towers used for spotting fires that may break out.
This year we have contracted three helicopters over the fire season to help fight fires in our plantations and also brought in contracted firefighting crews rotating from NZ and South Australia to help with our resourcing on the ground.
We also undertake hazard reduction burning each year planned through the RFS Bushfire Management Committees which reduces fuel in forests and focuses on strategic areas around communities and assets.