CFA has launched a new planned burn program that will help increase the number of fuel management activities that can be undertaken across the state.
The Planned Burn Task Force is comprised of a pool of more than 400 CFA members who can be called on to ensure there are enough firefighters to undertake planned burns.
Project Manager Terry Ouroumis said the Task Force allows interested members to attend more planned burns in more locations.
“The concept was to try and get a mobile workforce, specifically for planned burning, that is ready and available to help out with fire prevention activities and burning across the state.
“If the local area isn’t able to sufficiently resource volunteers for a burn that’s ready to go, then the Task Force is activated, and a request is sent out to help bolster personnel to a burn.”
The Planned Burn Task Force has been in the works since 2016, when the concept was first introduced by CFA Deputy Chief Officer Alen Slijepcevic.
“We talked about having a group of members with enthusiasm and who wanted to embrace planned burning and fire prevention,” said Mr Ouroumis.
“But it really picked up when Vegetation Management Officer Tony Brady took it on.
“He helped get a pilot funded as part of the Victorian Government’s Safer Together initiative, and we’ve had a very successful trial over the last two seasons.”
Since officially becoming a part of CFA’s planned burn toolkit this year, the Task Force has been activated several times across the state.
A planned burn in Longwood in CFA’s North East region has already utilised the Task Force, with members also expected to travel to Hamilton in the state’s South West next week.
Mr Ouroumis said that while the Task Force is made up of CFA members, other fire agencies can also request assistance from the Task Force if required.
“Task Force members could be requested for a single day, but they’re usually multi-day tours.
“We try to cap it at a maximum of four days though as our members are volunteers of course, and they’re leaving their homes to help with these very important bushfire mitigation activities.”
While the Planned Burn Taskforce has more than 400 members, Mr Ouroumis said they are currently seeking more people who are enthusiastic about helping with planned burning.
“We can fill specific roles that are needed for specific burns, and we can also help volunteers gain valuable experience if that’s what they need.”
Anyone seeking more information on how to join can email the planned burn taskforce on firstname.lastname@example.org.”