On Saturday 24 April 2021, CFA volunteers from across the South West Region and project firefighters from Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) participated in a roadside burn on the Portland Casterton Road, Merino.
After a quiet fire season this burn was a great opportunity to refresh some skills. The event was aimed at South West Region female volunteers who had little or no experience with roadside burning or fire more generally. Experienced CFA volunteers and FFMVic firefighters were on hand to mentor the eager participants and assist with some confidence-building exercises.
On the day we discussed the importance of roadside burning not only to protect communities but also the benefits for the environment and to protect native vegetation on our roadsides.
Participants were given a demonstration of the operations of the vehicle that they would be crewing for the day because some had never crewed tankers or ultralight vehicles before. On the fireground members had the opportunity to familiarise themselves with a drip torch and adding fire to the landscape, lighting patterns, the use of wet strips and blacking out.
Although rain cut short the event, overall it was a successful day and everyone was keen for similar events to take place in the future.