Brittany Dunkley is a Project Firefighter (PFF) based at Forest Fire Management Victoria’s (FFMVic) Noojee depot, she’s 23 and first heard of the role while studying at university.
Brittany felt a Project Firefighter (PFF) role would give her the opportunity to work in a different landscape to that she had experienced previously.
“Prior to working as a PFF I was working in coastal vegetation management, so the prospect of working across Victorian state forests held great appeal” she said.
“I had a vested interest in bushland management, so the idea of working in the field, building an understanding of forest management, planned burn operations and seeing firsthand how fire reacts in the landscape was a major attraction.”
Her favourite things about working for FFMVic are the opportunities to travel across the state, working in picturesque landscapes.
“Working in a team to help deliver management decisions and knowing you’re working to assist with the prevention of major bushfire events is very rewarding,” Brittany said.
According to Brittany, the most challenging part of being a PFF is the level of physical fitness and preparedness required to handle the role.
“Staying hydrated, fit and being able to work in sometimes difficult terrain or conditions including thick smoke are all part of the challenges faced,” she said.
“However, in these times, your team is there to support you which is comforting.”
One great thing being a PFF Brittany said was that an average day could vary depending on the time of the season.
“Early in the season, work is based around bushfire preparedness, and preparing sites which are to be burnt during the planned burning period.
“This can include chainsaw work, hazardous tree marking, and clearing vegetation with hand tools.
“For me, the season had no bushfire events, so my day to day activities ranged from burn preparation, weed spraying, recreational maintenance, and road clearing.”
Brittany said being a PFF is a great opportunity to learn field skills and gain hands on experience in forest management.
“The role is also a great introduction into working within FFMVic and opens opportunities to working in the operations side of forest management,” Brittany said.
“Don’t be afraid to throw your hat in and have a go”.
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.