Burn controllers learning together

District 4 and 5 burn controllers came together in December with local leaders to become better prepared for the burn season.


CFA stock photo. Photo by Michelle May, 2016

Twenty-three burn controllers and future burn controllers gave up their Saturday to gather the latest information around planned burning as well as workshop issues and undertake some professional development.

The day aimed to give burn controllers a better understanding of what the weather is doing and what to look for when considering a burn, or whilst burning.  

Vegetation Management Officer Heath Bunting called upon friend and mentor Mike Willmott, retired Senior Meteorologist Bureau of Meteorology, CFA volunteer with Hastings Brigade and former Captain of Baxter Brigade, to deliver professional development around the weather and the effects it has on planned burning. 

Following the workshop, the team made a short trip to the outskirts of Coleraine to visit the Glenelg Highway roadside, where Serra Group Officer Simon Amrytage and Balmoral Group Officer Rodney McFarlane facilitated a discussion around burn site breaks.

This session was aimed at workshopping break development, what type of break is best for the area or roadside being worked on, and what a good break looks like. 

After the field visit, the team returned to the Coleraine Fire Station, where Manager Community Safety South West James Haley and VMO Heath Bunting spoke about the Joint Fuel Management Program (JFMP) and what it means to local brigades when undertaking planned burns. 

A key area of discussion was the Keetch Byram Drought Index and how it pertains to grassland burning/roadside burning in the South West.  

The interest shown by the burn controllers was evident and despite being given the opportunity to finish up the event at the set time, all burn controllers opted to stay for an additional session with Mike.   

“It's encouraging and exciting to see the team opt to stay on and gain as much information as possible," Heath said.

Author: Heath Bunting