At the heart of the book are memoirs collected from people who were there at the time: the firefighters, farmers, foresters, ambos, nurses, school bus drivers, policemen, timber workers, orchardists, fishermen, wives and children. The stories are dramatic and exciting, often heart-breaking and poignant, even in one or two instances humorous. They speak of the courage, resilience, toughness and selflessness of rural West Australians. You will feel proud to read these stories and you will recognise many of the people who wrote them.
On a day topping 30 degrees in tinder-dry bush at Haunted Point, Indigenous elder Sonny Timbery is showing a group of teenage boys how to light fires.
“The knowledge is held within the landscape. Once we learn how to read that landscape and interpret that knowledge, that’s when we can apply those fire practices.”
Firefighters from the NSW Rural Fire Service watch as the teenagers use firesticks made from bark to ignite leaf litter that has accumulated on a ridge above the Shoalhaven River.
The VFFA is concerned that the voices of all persons (including our volunteer firefighters) is being muffled at the hands of political influence and manipulation.
How many government inquiries does it take to bring about change?
The issues surrounding turf wars have been around for a long time but those with empires to build don’t wish to discuss options.
A Trigger Point for Change – The NSW Government have never been able to settle upon a trigger point that is used to activate a change in firefighter engagement.
The NSW RFS Operational Brief seems contradictory and is included in this post.
In the interest of promoting an open and honest debate, the VFFA has decided to publish our submission. We hope that other groups will do the same.
The VFFA is somewhat disappointed in the way that this inquiry has been handled as follows:
1. The timeframes for groups to make submissions was very short and rushed
2. The information regarding the review was not actively promoted by the NSW State Government, and
3. What is happening with the referral of this fire to the Coroner?
One could be excused for thinking that the NSW State Government just wants these problems to go away, particularly with an election just around the corner.
The VFFA is promoting open debate from all persons involved. This includes the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS), Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW), NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Forestry Corporation of NSW, the Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA), the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (VFFA), the Fire Brigades Employees Union (FBEU), the insurance companies and most importantly, the firefighters (from all fire services) and the public of NSW.
Click the Read More link to see the VFFA submission.
The VFFA is pleased to learn that the NSW Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) is seeking active participation from Brigade / RFSA membership in presenting an informed and accurate presentation of the current state of the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) to the Keelty Commission of Inquiry.
It is important to the VFFA that Mr Keelty obtains an accurate, open and transparent view from ALL firefighters and members of the public.
Please respond to this campaign quickly because the submissions are required before Wednesday, 11th April 2018.
We have provided a link that can be used to submit your views to all three of the following recipients:
1. The Minister for Emergency Services (firstname.lastname@example.org)
2. NSW Rural Fire Service Association (email@example.com)
3. Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ecological burning does not have to be completed by firefighters. Farmers have been conducting agricultural burning for a long time without strict regulation.
The right fire can be good for the environment and prevent destruction.
Private landowners, groups like Landcare and other similar organisations that care for our environment could get involved in hazard reduction and ecological burning. Local brigades could then provide a single truck with a small crew to assist. This would become less of a logistical burden to our volunteer firefighters.
You don’t need PPE for super low intensity burning (cool burns), just sensible clothing.
Philip Donato, the Hon. Phillip Donato, Member for Orange, has distributed a petition throughout the emergency services which has been enthusiastically received.
The petition will bring to the attention of the Legislative Assembly of NSW Parliament the urgent need to protect our emergency services by introducing an enforceable 40 km/h speed limit for the vicinities of emergency service personnel operating on or near roadways.
The petition is fully supported by the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association, The Rural Fire Service Association, NSW Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and the Police Association of NSW.
Police, Fire and RFS officers have already started signing.
Philip Donato has invited the entire community to support the men and women of the emergency services by signing the petition. When the requisite 10,000 signatures has been obtained, Mr Donato will table it in parliament and will vigorously debate the issue.
It is important that we obtain original signatures for Mr Donato.
You can help by printing the petition document, gathering signatures and posting the original (signed copies) to the VFFA Media Officer at PO Box 359, Terrey Hills. NSW 2084.
The following two films (a snap shot and an extended version) capture the Cool Season Burning Masterclass that was run on June 24, 2017. The workshop was led by Traditional Fire Knowledge Holder Rod Mason and was held on private land in the Kiewa Valley in the North East CMA region of Victoria.
Big fires can destroy everything in their path, but the right fire can prevent the destruction.
We are pleased to announce the inaugural South-east Australia Aboriginal Fire Forum to be hosted by ACT Natural Resource Management (ACT NRM) and ACT Parks and Conservation Service (ACT PCS).
The Forum, titled Cultural Burning: Evolving with community and Country, will give participants the opportunity to network, learn, and establish collaborations with others committed to cultural burning and caring for Country. The Forum will be held on Ngunnawal Country at the Ann Harding Centre, University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT from Thursday 10 to Friday 11 May 2018 and will be followed by a demonstration field day on Saturday 12 May 2018. Keynote speakers include:
Bruce Pascoe—author and historian.
Dean Freeman—ACT Fire Management Unit.
Terrence Taylor—Jigija Indigenous Fire Training Program.
Victor Steffensen—Mulong Indigenous Fire Management.
To help celebrate the Forum we invite you to attend a networking dinner hosted by Steven Oliver on the evening of 10 May 2018.
Registrations to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members are free. Please note that spaces are limited and are aimed at those who are available to attend the whole three days.
Honeybugle is located on the Pangee Road in the Bogan Shire, central New South Wales. It is approximately 40km from Nyngan and about 460km west-northwest from Sydney.
We visited the crew from the Honeybugle Rural Fire Brigade last year to collect photos for the 2017 VFFA Christmas banner.
The VFFA thanks the members of the Honeybugle Rural Fire Brigade for their hospitality and support.