Forest Fire Management Victoria’s (FFMVic) newest firefighters are undertaking a rigorous and extensive training course in Swan Hill this week so they can protect communities from bushfire.

FFMVic Loddon Mallee Regional Training Coordinator Travis Storer said this is the second training course in the Loddon Mallee this year due to an increase in the number of Project Firefighters (PFFs) recruited in the Loddon Mallee Region this fire season.

“We’ve recruited 94 PFFs to work across the region, ten more than usual due to the predicted above average fire season,” Mr Storer said.

“We held our first training course in Mildura in October and this week in Swan Hill the four-day course will include Project Firefighters, Traditional Owners and regional staff from Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

“This second training course has been added to train the additional Project Firefighters in our region, but it is also an opportunity to train DELWP regional staff who take on a firefighting role during the fire season in addition to their day-to-day jobs.

“Representatives from Dja Dja Wurrung and Barapa Barapa will also undertake the training as FFMVic works with these Traditional Owner groups on Country to manage public land.

“The extensive training course will cover the essential elements of firefighting including fire behaviour, fire suppression, planned burning, safety and survival techniques.

“The course is a mix of classroom and field-based activities highlighting the demands of the fire ground and the varied role of a forest firefighter.

“Once they’ve successfully completed the course, attendees will be equipped to work alongside FFMVic’s permanent staff to undertake fire protection work and respond to bushfires.”  

During the fire season, 94 Loddon Mallee PFFs are based at DELWP and Parks Victoria depots at Swan Hill, Hattah, Mildura, Robinvale, Speed, Underbool, Werrimull, Rainbow, Avoca, Bendigo, Echuca, Castlemaine, Cohuna, Heathcote, Inglewood, Maryborough, Rushworth and St Arnaud.