Some of Forest Fire Management Victoria’s newest recruits are this week completing a tough and informative training camp in preparation for the summer fire season.

20 Project Firefighters (PFFs) from the Otway District have begun a five-day training camp at Gellibrand today.

Forest Fire Management Victoria Otway District Manager David Rourke said: “The course is a good mix of classroom and field-based activities to get our recruits up to speed with the demands of the fire ground and the varied role of a firefighter.”

“The training covers a wide range of topics including fire behaviour, fire suppression, planned burning, safety and survival techniques.”

“The course covers hands-on training around a variety of equipment, from water pumps and chainsaws, to four-wheel drive instruction and fire tanker use.”

“There will also be aviation training, allowing recruits to become familiar with our firefighting aircraft.”

“Recruits will learn how to safely work around fighting aircraft in a variety of scenarios, including working on the fireline when firefighting aircraft are water bombing.”

“As with every fire season in the Otways, this summer will present days of significant bushfire risk and these PFFs are a welcome and important addition to our firefighting resources.”

“They’ll play an essential role in fighting fires across the region and across the state if required.”

“We provide comprehensive training for our PFFs to ensure the highest levels of skill in protecting against and fighting fires.”

“In addition to increasing our new recruits’ knowledge of fire management, participants will gain an understanding of Forest Fire Management Victoria’s responsibilities in supporting broader emergencies, such as floods and landslides.

“Upon completion of this course, all of the 33 PFFs who have been recruited for the Otway summer fire season will be fully trained and operational.”

PFFs in the Otway District will be based at Gellibrand, Barwon Downs, Lorne and Anglesea depots.

Forest Fire Management Victoria employs more than 600 PFFs across the state each year.