Protecting Victoria from bushfires has been a family affair for Heyfield-based Will Sincich so it was natural for him to apply to become a Project Firefighter (PFF) with Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) when the opportunity arose.
Will’s father and older brother have both been involved in fighting fires. His father was one of the first helicopter rappellers trained to fight fires in the 80s, while his brother has been working as a PFF at Parks Victoria.
When Will saw that FFMVic was recruiting two years ago he knew he just had to apply.
“I thought it would be a good way to spend my summer break from university doing an exciting job and giving back to the community,” Will said.
The 22-year-old likes the fact that every day presents a different challenge to those faced the day before. He also enjoys working with a great crew in a team environment that often feels like a family.
“I like the opportunity to spend almost every day out in nature seeing remote country that is not often seen,” he said.
When asked about what an average day working at FFMVic looks like Will said every day was different.
“My day can start working on off-siding machinery to planned burn preparation and everything in between,” he said.
“The only thing that is guaranteed in a day for a PFF is that you will go to spectacular Country and spend that day with incredible knowledgeable people.”
In 2020 Will decided he would like to apply to become part of the one of FFMVic’s rappel crews.
He had met the requirements of having at least one year’s experience as a general firefighter with FFMVic and had all necessary accreditations and medical clearances.
“Becoming a rappeller was something I’ve been working towards since I joined FFMVic,” Will said.
“I saw it as the best opportunity to challenge myself and challenge the skills I had gained in remote firefighting.
“I also really liked the team culture of rappel and the trust everyone has in one another.”
Will recommends any prospective PFF applicants not to be afraid to ask questions and make mistakes.
“Take every opportunity that is presented to you and soak up as much knowledge and experience as you can,” he said.
Will recently joined Gippsland’s Media and Communications team as an Advisor where he is putting the skills he learnt in his university degree to good use.
FFMVic employs several hundred project firefighters each year, at more than 80 locations around Victoria. PFFs help suppress bushfires and assist in prevention works, including planned burning.