Fire operations officers at a planned burn site

A further 154 Fire Operations Officers have been added to Forest Fire Management Victoria’s (FFMVic) ranks, creating a firefighting workforce more than 1000 strong including up to 300 new recruits ready for summer.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Hardman said FFMVic was adapting to the impacts of climate change by delivering a year-round planned burning program to minimise bushfire risk.

“We look for opportunities to conduct our planned burns 365-days-a-year, focusing on precision burns to protect where people live, we also put more work into slashing and mulching and expanding our strategic fuel break network to protect lives, homes and property”, Mr Hardman said.

“FFMVic crews completed more than 470 burns in the 2020-21 financial year which covered more than 133,000 hectares of public land.

“An additional 49 burns covering more than 2,000 hectares were completed between 1 July 2021 and the end of October.”

Throughout this period FFMVic has been able to do more precision burning close to where people live to help protect homes, catchments, power supplies, schools, hospitals, and key transport routes. As well as these high priority burns, crews have supported 15 Cultural burns led by Traditional Owners.

FFMVic has also been busy enhancing the state’s strategic fuel break network with more than 484 kilometres now upgraded and another 963 kilometres scheduled for completion by June 2022.

“Fuel breaks are vital to protect communities and the environment from the impacts of bushfire and assist firefighters to manage and suppress fires”, Mr Hardman said.

An additional 18,888 hectares of mechanical treatment was conducted in the reporting period further decreasing fire risk in our parks and forests.

The recent recruitment of seasonal firefighters follows the record $339.5 million invested in the Victorian Budget 2021/22 to ensure access to state-of-the-art technology, fire towers and equipment, and an additional $133 million for radio upgrades helping FFMVic crews communicate better with other emergency services.

Page last updated: 19/11/21