Forest Fire Management Victoria has warned of an early start to this year’s fire season, which could start during October or early November.
FFMVic Murray Goldfields district manager Paul Bates said it was important to acknowledge that parts of central Victoria, which included areas north of Bendigo “are still very dry”.
“People need to be aware that we may be looking at an early start to the fire season, probably around four to six weeks early,” Mr Bates said.
“We need to keep this in mind and for everyone to commence preparations earlier than they normally would.”
Mr Bates said FFMVic were looking at opportunities for planned burning and other fire fuel management practices to start earlier.
FFMVic has commenced a recruitment drive to recruit 49 firefighters for the Murray Goldfields district, which is five more than usual.
“As we gear up for this scenario, we will be bringing on more project firefighters who will commence their duties earlier,” Mr Bates said.
“These frontline forest firefighters are an important addition to our resources as we prepare for the upcoming fire season.”
Across Victoria there are more than 300 project firefighter summer positions available as well as 18 positions for applicants who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
“All new project firefighters will undergo an intensive training program involving fire behaviour, weather, equipment and 4x4 training before attending bushfires.,” Mr Bates said.
“Once they’re working, responding to fires will be their highest priority and the new positions will based at depots located throughout our district.”
Their role will also involve planned burn preparations and inspecting forest tracks around water points and dams to make sure they’re efficiently accessible in the event of an emergency.
The roles will be based in Avoca, Bendigo, Heathcote, Maryborough, Rushworth, St Arnaud, Castlemaine, Cohuna, Echuca, Inglewood and Macedon.
For more information on becoming a project firefighter please call FFMVic on 136 186 or visit www.ffm.vic.gov.au
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