Fire fighters sign on

The first 50 of the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Parks Victoria’s 174 Gippsland project fire fighters began work this week.

DEPI Gippsland regional land and fire Manager Grange Jephcott said project fire fighters worked alongside permanent staff to undertake fire protection work and respond to bushfires.

“This initial intake of project fire fighters is of returnees with previous experience; so they’ll be getting straight to work on planned burn preparation, slashing and track clearing,” Mr Jephcott said.

“Of course, once the weather warms up, the project fire fighters will play an essential role in fighting fires across the Gippsland region and across the state if required,” Mr Jephcott said.

All of the 174 seasonal project fire fighters for Gippsland will be operational by December and are a mix of returning and new fire fighters.

Project fire fighters will be based at DEPI and Parks Victoria work centres including Foster, Tidal River, Wonthaggi, Yarram, Noojee, Erica, Loch Sport, Heyfield, Briagolong, Dargo, Bairnsdale, Swifts Creek, Nowa Nowa, Orbost, Cann River, Mallacoota and Bendoc.

“We provide comprehensive training for our project fire fighters to ensure high levels of skill in protecting against, preparing for and fighting fires,” Mr Jephcott said.

DEPI and Parks Victoria employs about 600 project fire fighters across the state each year.