126 Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) seasonal firefighters are ready to respond to bushfires and other emergencies across north east Victoria this summer.

Forty-nine of the firefighters are new recruits and have undergone training in recent weeks to prepare them to help protect communities and the environment from bushfires.

Seasonal firefighters complement FFMVic’s fulltime firefighting workforce and will be located at sites across the region.

This includes Broadford, Alexandra, Marysville, Toolangi, Kinglake, Mansfield, Benalla, Shepparton, Nathalia, Yarrawonga, Wangaratta, Beechworth, Ovens, Whitfield, Mt Beauty, Bright, Mitta Valley, Tallangatta, Corryong.

Across the state, FFMVic has recruited 552 firefighters, including 28 specialist rappel firefighters.

Rappel firefighters deploy from helicopters for first attack on bushfires in remote and inaccessible forest across Victoria. They will be located at airbases in Ovens and Heyfield.

FFMVic Deputy Chief Fire Officer Aaron Kennedy said seasonal firefighters play a critical role in effective response of bushfires on public land.

“Our recruits are trained in how to use a rake hoe to construct mineral earth control lines as well as other skills such as four-wheel driving, water pumps, and hand tool maintenance, which are essential for forest firefighting.

“Their training also covered the essential elements of firefighting including fire behaviour, fire suppression, planned burning, emergency safety and survival techniques.

“These recruits will not only respond to bushfires and other emergencies, including floods, they’ll also be conducting planned burns, slashing, track clearing and other land management activities,” Mr Kennedy said.

“The seasonal firefighters will work alongside FFMVic’s permanent staff where they will continue with on-the-job learning from experienced firefighters.”

Five new FFMVic recruits at training.