This column from the CFO was published in March 2022's FireWise.

Chris Hardman This month as part of International Women’s Day (8 March) Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) is celebrating the work of the many women who work across our fire and emergency services.

FFMVic has a strong commitment to gender equality, with the aim of achieving equal representation of men and women by 2025.

We want every woman in our organisation to feel encouraged and supported to achieve their full potential. By increasing the number of women working and holding fire and emergency roles, we will ensure FFMVic and its partner agencies, reflect the diversity of the communities it serves.

March is also when we have the opportunity to celebrate Women in Aviation Week (7 – 13 March). A perfect time to congratulate FFMVic’s Rhianna Burns (pictured below) and CFA’s Kelly Krajnc who have become Victoria’s first female firefighting air attack supervisors.

I definitely hope their achievements will inspire more women to follow in their footsteps.

You can read about some of the terrific women, including Rhianna’s story, we have working here at FFMVic at

FFMVic has added two Vallfirest Heli-Skid units to support fire response in the Murrindindi District. They are the first to be purchased in Victoria, and likely Australia and New Zealand.

The Heli-Skid units feature a foldable canvas tank and can be quickly deployed into inaccessible areas. Once in place the tank is filled with water from a helicopter, allowing the crews on the ground to use the attached fire pump and hoses to complete suppression and blacking out works.

The units, plus the water tanks mentioned in last month’s column are part of the $1.42m securing remote water supplies project.

While the current weather conditions have reduced the opportunities we have had to conduct planned burns across most of the state, we are continuing to prepare the areas we will be targeting in the coming months so when the conditions are right the crews will be ready to go.

To find out when planned burns are happening near you, I would encourage you to register on the Planned Burns Victoria website to receive updates:

Sadly, again this month I am conscious of the dangers facing those who work in the emergency services. In Tasmania, a helicopter pilot lost his life while supporting crews on the ground to extinguish the recent bushfires, while in Queensland, a member of the State Emergency Services died while responding to a call for assistance during the floods in that state. My thoughts are with their families, friends, and work colleagues.

Both are incredible losses to the emergency services community and a tragedy that will be felt by many.

As I said last month FFMVic puts the safety of our crews first and foremost and these tragedies bring into focus the realities and harshness of the environment in which we work so it’s important we all continue to look after ourselves and our workmates.

Take care

Chris Hardman
Chief Fire Officer