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South East Region burn training camp a success.
The South East Region Burn Training Camp on the Mornington Peninsula was held on the last weekend in March, with 60 volunteers and staff in attendance.
The camp was an interagency event run in conjunction with Mornington Peninsula Shire, Parks Victoria and Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP).
Gareth George, CFA Vegetation Management Officer -South East Region led the teams in planning the fuel reduction and ecological burns for the 4 sites across the Peninsula which included private land, crown foreshore and shire reserves.
DELWP Assistant Chief Fire Officer Chris Eagle along with CFA Operations Officers Andrew Turner and Paul Carrigg provided the welcome address to the participants and delivered the on ground practical out in the field.
DELWP Fire Management Officer Shane Vandenborn delivered on ground practical hazardous tree assessment training. Participants heard from Parks Victoria’s Damien Sayer who delivered a detailed presentation on planning for and executing the highly complex Arthurs Seat planned burn in 2016. Participants said it was really valuable to learn about the impressive level of organisation that goes into planned burns – from all agencies.
Due to the weather leading up to the Burn Camp being a bit wet, 3 of the 4 sites were eliminated from the plan. Saturday saw an attempt to light the Crib Point Foreshore Reserve burn, in an effort to show the participants some fire in the landscape, but with little wind and damp fuel moistures it was decided that the group would cease burning.
The Staging Area was situated at the Don Bosco Camp at Safety Beach which provided the opportunity for new and existing CFA Staging Area Managers to revise and practice their roles in a controlled mentored environment.
Dan Idczak, Team Leader of the Mornington Peninsula Shire crew said “teaming up with CFA has been really good and we look forward to progressing this in the future”.
Highlights for Mark Rowe of the Morning Peninsula Shire Fire Crew were “learning about the benefits of fire to local biodiversity, the opportunity to get to know a whole lot of people and the fire roles within different organisations”.
Craig Aiton, CFA Volunteer with Langwarrin Fire Brigade said “it was great to go out to the burn sites to learn about the very important role of fuel moisture content and to see first-hand the contrast between what’s involved in fire suppression and planned burning.”
Participants also provided positive feedback regarding the opportunity to network amongst CFA Brigades, Groups, Staff and the other agencies.
CFA’s Acting Assistant Chief Officer Mark Kennedy acknowledged Gareth George’s efforts in coordinating and leading the camp, as well as all of those who supported him to achieve what they did. “Irrespective of the weather, the outcome was still a very worthwhile exercise for the 60 volunteers and staff that participated in the camp”.