Fifteen trainee bushfire investigators from Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic), CFA, Victoria Police and Parks Victoria will search for clues at multiple sites of “suspicious bushfires” in Walmer State Forest near Castlemaine on Wednesday (14 November) and Thursday (15 November) as part of a bushfire investigation course.

FFMVic and CFA are running a joint five-day bushfire investigation course that will provide trainees with the skills to investigate the origin and cause of bushfires.

The “suspicious bushfires” will be deliberately lit inside a previous planned burn by the course instructors and then extinguished so trainees can put their sleuthing skills to the test.

FFMVic Statewide Fire Investigation and Training Coordinator, Les Vearing, said bushfire investigation is an important and highly skilled job, so it is essential that trainees receive practical training on a real fire ground.

“Trainees will figure out where the fire started, what caused ignition and which way the fire spread,” Mr Vearing said.

“The key to fire investigation is finding the point of origin because it usually contains the clues to show whether ignition was natural, an accident or deliberate.

“Course participants will be on hands and knees looking for clues such as staining on rocks, burn patterns on trees, tyre tracks or signs that someone has been using machinery, a chainsaw or other hand tools such as angle grinders.”

Fire crews will be on site to control and extinguish the fires once the investigation training has been completed.