Fiona Powles is a Forest Fire Management Victoria’s (FFMVic) Forest and Fire Operations Officers (FFOO) who started her career as a seasonal Project Firefighter (PFF).
Fiona, currently based out of FFMVic’s Benalla Depot, started her career as a PFF with Parks Victoria in Wangaratta before getting a full-time role as a FFOO.
“I was looking for work after 12 months of travelling and saw PFF jobs advertised. I applied and was lucky enough to get on for that summer and ended up staying for three and a half seasons,” she said.
“I found the work I was doing as a PFF really rewarding and wanted to do it full time.
“Since becoming a FFOO I haven’t looked back!”
Fiona said she appreciated the amount of training offered by FFMVic.
“I come from a farming background which I think helps with some aspects of the job but other than that I didn’t have any other experience,” she said.
“FFMVic has given me the opportunity to further my skill set through a wide range of training and on the job mentoring.
“I have been trained as a General Firefighter, learned four-wheel driving and First Aid, received Red tanker and Unimog accreditation, been taught chainsaw operation (trim and crosscut, basic faller), D4 Dozer operation, and became a Crew Leader.”
Like all jobs, being a FFOO comes with it challenges.
“The job can be physically demanding,” Fiona said.
“However, I enjoy the challenge as it’s a great motivator to keep fit and healthy.”
Fiona feels that applying for a PFF position is a great way to start a career path with FFMVic.
“Apply for a PFF position to see if you are suited for the work,” she said.
“Do some research into what we do here at FFMVic; even visit one of our work centres and talk to one of the crew about the work we do and what to expect.
“Also having a look on the FFMVic website will help give you an understanding of the organisation before applying.”