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It's here! Planned burn training for volunteers
New North West Region Burn Controller short course at Gisborne.
Gisborne ICC was the location for the first rollout of the new CFA462 Burn Controller short course over a weekend mid-March 2016. The course was attended by 16 participants from Districts 2, 14 and 20. Since then, three more courses have been conducted across the state at Boho South, Cape Otway and Dandenong, with more being planned in each region.
State Planned Burn Coordinator and Senior Instructor Roger Strickland, with assistance from South West Region Instructor Peter Cecil, North West Region Instructor Brett Wagstaff and North West Vegetation Management Officers (VMO) Charles Grech and Eain McRae, led participants through a full program over two days spent largely in the field doing practical learning and assessments.
On day 1, participants are handed a completed and approved CFA Burn Plan to prepare for a simple Complexity Rating 1 (CR1) Planned Burn. They conduct an initial site assessment which includes ground-truthing hazards and associated risks which included identifying hazardous trees and areas the fire could potentially escape. Fuel and weather assessments are also undertaken. Small groups develop an implementation plan to conduct the burn (simulated) on Day 2. The implementation plan incorporated resource allocation, tasking and briefing of crews, contingency planning and identification of likely lighting patterns tailored to proposed burn scenarios.
The course is designed for CFA Crew Leaders who are required to conduct simple planned burns. Simple planned burns are characterised by low risk, low intensity, small area, low potential impact on assets, completion in one shift and minimal variation of fuel and terrain.
For some years CFA has run a five day 'Plan and Conduct Prescribed Burn' program at Fiskville. This was based on a requirement to train career staff undergoing further and was not volunteer friendly as it was held mid-week and difficult to obtain a nomination to participate. The new CFA462 Burn Controller short course aims to provide a concise two day training course that will meet the needs of our volunteer planned burners into the future.
The course is the first step in a structured CFA pathway to attaining recognition for the national unit PUAFIR412 - Conduct Simple Prescribed Burns. After successful completion of the two-day program, participants need to show evidence of participating in at least three burns and then conduct a burn with an Instructor/Assessor. Recording these activities in a recognised field evidence collection format will assist those members later seeking qualification for the nationally recognised unit PUAFIR412.
An RPL (recognition of prior learning) process is also available for current and experienced burn controllers requiring recognition of existing knowledge and skills.
Want to get involved?
More courses are being scheduled in coming months across the state to meet the growing need for qualified burn controllers to conduct simple burns in their own brigade and neighbouring areas. Interested candidates should contact their District Training Coordinators to seek information on course prerequisites, eligibility and for specific course dates and locations.