Fighting Fire with Fire – Cultural burning at Bundanon brings life back to the land

Fighting Fire with Fire – Cultural burning at Bundanon brings life back to the land

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.

Being Upfront and Open about Turf Wars

Being Upfront and Open about Turf Wars

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.

Bega Valley Independent Review (Keelty Inquiry 2018)

Bega Valley Independent Review (Keelty Inquiry 2018)

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.

Helping the RFSA obtain an Informed and Accurate View

Helping the RFSA obtain an Informed and Accurate View

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 (troy.grant@parliament.nsw.gov.au)
2. NSW Rural Fire Service Association (submissions@rfsa.org.au)
3. Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (feedback@volunteerfirefighters.org.au)

A Discussion on Ecological and Hazard Reduction Burning

A Discussion on Ecological and Hazard Reduction Burning

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.

Petition to Protect our Protectors (10,000 signatures required)

Petition to Protect our Protectors (10,000 signatures required)

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.

Reedy Swamp (Tathra Fire) VFFA Media Release

Reedy Swamp (Tathra Fire) VFFA Media Release

March 21, 2018

Reedy Swamp, Bega (Tathra Fire)

The Tathra Fire was a terrible tragedy for all involved. The Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (VFFA) has decided to publish the following 6 points in response to the media generated interest.

1. Firefighters did a good job

The firefighters did a great job, but they can only do so much on a bad day.

2. Less Fuel equals Less Fire

A lot of fuel on a bad day is a recipe for disaster. This situation will only get worse if we don’t change our approach to land management.

Hazard reduction in NSW deals with approximately 1% of bush fire prone land each year (that’s 100 years of work to get the job done). Bush fire scientists (the likes of Phil Cheney) state that we should be treating more like 8% of bush fire prone land annually.

Less fuel will result in lower intensity fires (less fire). Proper land management is vital to protecting the environment, animals, human lives, our property and our way of life. Big fires can destroy everything in their path, but the right fire can prevent the destruction…

Alan slams minister’s Tathra response: ‘You are a disappointment Troy!’

Alan slams minister’s Tathra response: ‘You are a disappointment Troy!’

Mr Grant has announced an independent investigation into the callout procedures for bushfires, in the wake of the blaze that destroyed 69 homes on the south coast.
Questions are being raised about the responsibilities of, and competition between, the Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue New South Wales.
The RFS declined two offers of assistance before the fire jumped the Bega River and tore through the seaside town.
Several people within Fire and Rescue NSW have told Alan a “turf war” between the two organisations has been putting people’s homes and lives at risk for decades.
Emergency Services Minister Troy Grant tells Alan he won’t be taking action until an independent investigation looks into the matter.
“The RFS Commissioner has already referred this fire to the Coroner… why is that a problem?
“The working relationship between the two, I don’t think has been better for years.”
Alan, “You’re kidding me. You are a disappointment Troy, you’re miles off the pace!
“If you were returning to a home that had been burnt to the ground and you’d lost everything, you’d want a better response than Troy Grant has given me today.”
Listen to the explosive interview in full…

Forest Mismanagement has brought Unprecedented Environmental Catastrophe to California

Forest Mismanagement has brought Unprecedented Environmental Catastrophe to California

A California independent oversight committee is recommending that the state revamp its forest management strategies in order to prevent massive fires like those that plagued the state in 2017.
The Little Hoover Commission (LHC) released a report Monday that found a more proactive approach to forest management, like using practices such as thinning and controlled burns, could lessen the impact of wildfires on the environment and the budget.

Demolition moves RFS training centre closer to construction

This news article appeared in the Daily Liberal on February 2nd 2018. It is clear that the Lets put the RURAL back into the Rural Fire Service campaign is beginning to bear fruit.
Congratulations to Mayor, Ben Shields for his support.
Progress is being made on the construction of a Rural Fire Service training facility.
Dubbo Regional Council has awarded a tender for the demolition of buildings at Dubbo City Regional Airport where the training facility will be constructed.
The centre will provide specialist training in areas such as incident management, road crash rescue and fire investigation, as well as member induction training.
With a 30-year lease agreement in place, it is fair to say that the flow-on effects will be felt in the local economy well into the future, says Mayor Ben Shields.