Pax Hill burn camp

The first of three planned burn training camps being held in West Region this year was conducted at the Pax Hill Scout Camp in Ballarat over the weekend of 22 and 23 April.

A total of 18 volunteers from CFA Districts 15, 16 and 07 attended the course over the two days, with time spent both in the classroom and outdoors, enhancing their skills and knowledge around planned burning. 

Whilst conditions weren’t ideal to complete all proposed planned burns over the weekend, participants were able to safely practice lighting techniques and observe low intensity fire behaviour in an area of long unburnt Stringybark forest. 

All of the participants left burn camp having learnt something new, with comments such as:  “I now appreciate the complexities and preparation required to conduct a burn”, “it was great to watch fire behaviour and see how fire can develop”, “I enjoyed candling, and watching how far fire can travel up the trees”.

Planned burn training camps are a great opportunity for volunteers of all levels to get hands-on planned burning experience, whilst being mentored by CFA Instructors.

Burn camps also provide opportunities for CFA burn controller course participants to undertake their practical assessment and sign off by qualified instructors. CFA Burn Controller trainee Barry Planner from Bannockburn Fire brigade undertook his final assessment at the camp. “Burn camps have added a whole new dimension to CFA training and are a great way for members to gain experience in a realistic fire environment,” he said.  

CFA West Region is running a candling workshop in Creswick on 12 and 13 May, and the final camp for the year will be held at Little Desert Lodge on 17 and 18 June. 

For further information on burn camps contact your local CFA Vegetation Management Officer.

For more information on planned burning visit: and (CFA members only)

Remember, “When you’re burning, you’re learning!

Photos: Kay Richardson

Author: Planned Burning Project