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New burn training camp a success
A new type of training camp, which teaches members how to conduct burns safely, has been given the tick of approval by CFA members.
The Cape Otway Burn Training Camp took place from 6 - 10 May involving 17 participants and three leaders – Wildfire Instructor Mike Evans, Barwon South West Vegetation Management Officer Ian Morrison and Planned Burn Co-ordinator Roger Strickland.
The aim of the camp was to teach members about planned burn operations, taking into account factors including different fuel types, terrain and asset exposures.
Mr Strickland said he wanted to build the participants’ knowledge, skills and confidence in planned burns.
“I was really pleased with the outcome of the camp and the group said they all appreciated the experience gained and found the activities were a valuable learning opportunity,” he said.
“I am confident the camp enhanced their knowledge of fire behaviour and how it varies with fuels, weather and topography.”
The burns were undertaken at the Conservation Centre property, Bimbi Caravan Park and the Cecil Mariner property, giving participants experience with various fuel types, topography and other aspects.
“The range of sites enabled us to take advantage of fuel and weather conditions. It was also great having a number of skilled personnel to mentor the key positions,” Mr Strickland said.
Gellibrand firefighter Natalie Said listed many benefits to the camp but said being hands on was the best way to learn.
“I’ve learnt so much about fuel loadings and fuel moisture content, seeing the effects of different lighting patterns and how intense the fire behaviour was even with high fuel moistures,” she said.
Barongarook firefighter Peter Lloyd said it was great being able to listen to the discussions about tactics.
“I learnt about the variability of the weather and how you can work with that – it gave me insight into the whole operation,” he said.
Vegetation Management Officer and Dereel firefighter Kim Stanley-Eyles said she got a lot from meeting people from other brigades.
“I learnt how to operate a slip-on unit. I learnt a lot from being able to see the operational side of conducting a burn, listening to the discussions behind each decision and the technicalities of it,” she said.
All landowners reported they were pleased with the burn results and the way they were conducted.
Due to the success of the Cape Otway Burn Training Camp, CFA plans to broaden this training to other CFA members across the state.