After much planning, preparation and anticipation, 30 CFA volunteers from 22 brigades and six staff members from Districts 6, 15,16,17 and Headquarters completed burns at Minimay and The Little Desert Nature Lodge as part of a week-long burn camp.
The five burns successfully reduced fuel loads and protected biodiversity.
The burns were conducted in small mosaics across the grasslands and Mallee heath and interspersed among private land allotments. They offered members extensive training, mentoring and skills development. It also exposed members to fire in a controlled and safe environment.
DCO Alen Slijepcevic congratulated all the CFA members who took part in this successful burn camp.
“It was fantastic to see many brigades from different districts attend this camp. What was most pleasing was to hear about the skills and knowledge transfer that was occurring between members, the professionalism of the mentoring burn controllers and instructors and the debriefing that occurred after each burn,” Alen said.
“This camp was a great opportunity not just to learn and practise new skills but also to forge new connections for the future. Well done to you and to the organising team for running a successful burn camp this year.”
“The ‘total land management’ approach to understand soil, grasses and trees in relation to fire regimes was hugely valuable knowledge,” Daylesford brigade member Glenn Webster said. “The walk around the culturally significant area was a highlight. This knowledge of and respect for Indigenous land management is something we can all benefit from.”
“Being hands-on and not just theory develops and enhances all previous knowledge,” Daylesford brigade member Indre Kisonas said. “Reacting to changes in real time and experiencing a controlled burn is invaluable as we are learning every step of the way. Whether you’re a new or experienced firefighter, everybody will learn something.
“Let’s pass these time-honed skills onto the next generation”.
“It was great to see so many experienced members teaming up with those less experienced to help build on and reinforce their newly-acquired skills,” Planned Burning Instructor Mark Barrile said.
“It was great that we were able to sign off a few people at a few different levels of their burn controller development pathway as well as provide some effective instruction on the various skills required to achieve a successful planned burn.”
Congratulations to Horsham Fire Brigade Captain John St Clare and Wildfire Instructor Peter Cecil, who gained the CFA competency CR1 Burn Controller due to burns they delivered, which links in with the National Unit of Competency and their endorsement as a burn controller.
CFA Vegetation Management Officer Ian Morrison collaborated with Little Desert Nature Lodge, Bank Australia and Greening Australia to burn the site at Minimay.