Project Firefighters put new skills to the test

REGION - Project Firefighters have been busy over recent weeks applying the planned burning and firefighting skills learnt during the annual Department of Environment and Primary Industries fire fighter camp at Anglesea.

"The new skills were tested in the build up to last week's high fire danger weather through participating in planned burns and a range of general prevention and preparedness activities," DEPI Land and Fire Regional Manager Grampians Hamish Webb said.

"Over coming weeks they will continue to undertake general preparedness works, including an extensive track clearing program, planned burn preparation works, preparing and maintaining air bases and general firefighting skills updates as well as respond to fires when called into action.

"The newly trained recruits will bring the total number of PFFs in the Grampians Region to 86 for this fire season.

"The annual PFF camp at the Eumeralla Scout Camp is the training ground for rookie fire-fighters, then they get to 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 firefighters from DEPI, Parks Victoria and CFA based in different locations who had a range of perspectives and real-life experience.

"Because everyone shared their firefighting experience, the PFF recruits gained an understanding of what it's really like out there on the fire line, whether in the desert or dense forest.

"When the new trainees return to their home work centres, they are 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 this first round of fire danger weather.

"This year the Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation and the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation requested the opportunity for their natural resource management staff to attend the camp to build the necessary skills to manage fire on their traditional lands.

"Five Aboriginal rangers attended the camp and DEPI will continue to work with them to build their capability to manage fire on their land.

"The Wotjobaluk Native Title Settlement and the recent Dja Dja Wurrung Recognition and Settlement Agreement provide for the active involvement of the Wotjobaluk and Dja Dja Wurrung people in decisions and management of their Agreement Areas."

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