Casual firefighters start work

Ten seasonal firefighters have started work in Forestry Corporation Monaro Region this week to boost firefighting numbers around the Bombala and Moss Vale areas.

“The fire season, after looking like it was going to start early, was delayed by some late spring rain,” Forestry Corporation regional manager Bob Germantse said.

“Now that the grass is starting to cure and the temperature rising we are looking at the start of the ‘real’ fire season.”

He said six of 10 seasonal employees had worked with Forestry Corporation last year.

“One of the casuals first tasks will be a fitness test, which involves task-based fitness assessments, to ensure they are ready to meet the physical demands of the job,” Mr Germantse said.

“They will then receive intensive fire-fighting training including use of fire tankers, fire fighting slip-on units for vehicles and four-wheel-drives.

“While not fighting fires, the majority of the casual firefighters’ time will be spent patrolling and removing weeds from within the forest.”

Casuals in the Moss Vale area will also receive training in fire tower operation, as this will become part of their duties during the fire season.

During the months of high fire danger, the towers are manned seven days a week to ensure that any new fires in the area can be detected and accurately located on the ground.

The towers contain detailed maps of the region, which enable fire spotters to see exactly where blazes are burning.

Mr Germantse said this sort of information combined with the organisation’s lightning detection technology meant the region had a fast and effective response to any fire emergency.

He said most of the regions fire tower operators were very experienced as they had been with Forestry Corporation for many years.

Photos available.

Further information: Bob Germantse on (02) 6458 3177.