• Jason Regan

Recruitment continues ahead of fire season

The Victorian Government has recruited and trained more than 600 seasonal firefighters now ready for action.

A further 154 Fire Operations Officers have been added to Forest Fire Management Victoria’s (FFMVic) ranks, creating a firefighting workforce of more than 1000 strong including up to 300 new recruits ready for the summer.

The recruitment is part of the state government's $517 million investment into bushfire preparedness for this season. FFMVic has conducted 49 burns covering more than 2,000 hectares across the state from 1 July 2021 to the end of October.

Throughout the reporting period, FFMVic has been able to do more precision burning close to where people live to help protect homes, catchments, power supplies, schools, hospitals, and key transport routes. As well as these burns, crews have supported 15 cultural burns led by Traditional Owner Groups.

Forest Fire Management Victoria Chief Fire Officer, Chris Hardman, said FFMVic look for all opportunities available to conduct our planned burns 365-days-a-year.

"We focus on precision burns with the biggest community benefit to protect where people live, we also put more work into slashing and mulching and growing our strategic fuel break network to protect lives, homes and property.”

More than $35 million has been directed to enhancing the state’s strategic fuel break network with more than 484 kilometers now upgraded and another 963 kilometers scheduled for completion by June 2022.

An additional 18,888 hectares of mechanical treatment was conducted in the reporting period further decreasing fire risk in our parks and forests.

Victorian Environment Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, says Victoria is one of the most bushfire-prone regions in the world.

"The impacts of climate change and associated extreme weather events are changing the nature of bushfires,” she said.
“We’re constantly adapting to the challenges of climate change ensuring the risk from bushfires is minimised and we are prepared for the summer ahead.”