Stories of Fatigue – Part 1

A Strike Team was sent from (name suppressed).
The strike team had been available (at their brigade stations) since 12 midday.
It was estimated that most of the crew would have been awake since 0700hrs.
It took approx. 1 hour 45 minutes to drive from (name suppressed) to a staging area.
Upon arrival, crews waited while information was gathered.
Crews were provided with water and snack packs.
They were sent to the fire ground on an evening shift.
The Strike Team was stood down at 0300hrs.
They drove back to (name suppressed).
It would be fair to say that the crew members had been awake for almost 24 hours.
Do you have a similar story?
We are hearing stories of frustrated firefighters who are deployed, only to sit around without doing much (sometimes without doing anything). This in itself is tiring.

RFSA sponsorship recipient continues research into cultural burning

RFSA sponsorship recipient continues research into cultural burning

The RFSA is to be congratulated in the continued support of volunteer firefighter, Michelle McKemey of Guyra Rural Fire Brigade, assisting her PhD research project, Cultural Burning: Using Indigenous practice and science to apply fire strategically.

Michelle started her PhD in 2014, her study involves investigation into fire ecology and empowering land managers to apply fire as a management tool.

Working with Bambai Indigenous rangers, Michelle is examining Indigenous cultural knowledge associated with fire management, as well as, conducting ecological experiments to improve understanding of fire on the landscape.

A short film detailing Michelle’s research has recently been published by the University of New England and her research group was awarded the CSIRO DNFC (Digital National Facilities and Collections) award for Indigenous Engagement.  The RFSA is pleased to support Michelle’s valuable research.

Why wildfires have gotten worse — and what we can do about it

Why wildfires have gotten worse — and what we can do about it

Megafires, individual fires that burn more than 100,000 acres, are on the rise in the western United States, the direct result of unintentional yet massive changes we’ve brought to the forests through a century of misguided management. What steps can we take to avoid further destruction? Forest ecologist Paul Hessburg confronts some tough truths about wildfires and details how we can help restore the natural balance of the landscape.
The same can be said for Australia…

You own the fuel, but who owns the fire? – Paper by Michael Eburn

You own the fuel, but who owns the fire? – Paper by Michael Eburn

In this paper, Michael Eburn and his colleague Geoff Cary argue that the statement ‘Whoever owns the fuel owns the fire’ implies a duty on landowners to manage fuel on their land to reduce the likelihood of bushfires, however started, from spreading to neighbouring properties. However, the notion ‘Whoever owns the fuel owns the fire’ has not been analysed from a legal perspective. This paper reviews Australian law to identify who is legally responsible for fire that starts on privately owned land. We argue that the correct interpretation of existing Australian law is: ‘Whoever owns the ignition owns the fire’ – that is, liability to pay for losses caused by bushfire has always fallen on those that intentionally start a fire, not on the owner of the fuel that sustains the fire. That legal conclusion could have dramatic implications for fire management policies. It will be shown that liability for starting a prescribed burn is clear-cut whereas liability for allowing accumulated fuel loads to contribute to the spread of fire is almost unheard of. As a result, we argue that the law is pushing landowners in a direction away from the policy direction adopted by all Australian governments. After identifying the current legal position, we recommend changes to align the law with the national policy direction.

Private Fire Appliances

Private Fire Appliances

Tankers trailers, slip-ons and other privately owned fire appliances must be recognised by the NSW State Government as viable firefighting capability. Unfortunately, there are many reported instances in NSW, where farmers have been prevented from using their own equipment and have been isolated from their properties by unnecessary (according to local knowledge) Police road blocks.

This post includes an embedded CFA video and comments by Michael Eburn.

NSW RFS Code of Conduct and Ethics Training

NSW RFS Code of Conduct and Ethics Training

The NSW RFS is conducting a number of Code of Conduct and Ethics training workshops in 2018.

The VFFA congratulates the NSW RFS, Professional Standards Unit on this initiative. We encourage members to attend these workshops.

The workshops are interactive and provide an opportunity to discuss the Code and how it applies to brigade life. Learning occurs through instruction, large and small group activities and sharing of member experiences.

Falling koala numbers not a crisis, says expert

Falling koala numbers not a crisis, says expert

Australia’s cuddliest native animal is at the centre of fierce scientific dispute, with new research challenging conventional assumptions about koalas, their relationship with the bush and the wisdom of conservation campaigns designed to increase their numbers in the wild.

Vic Jurskis, a respected forester and ecologist and the author of a research paper to be published next week in Wildlife Research, a peer-reviewed, CSIRO journal, dubs it the great koala scam.

He says ignorance about koalas and poor management of our native forests have led to a situation where the decline of koala populations from unsustainable and unnaturally high levels is misinterpreted as a crisis.

Did the cracks contribute to the roll over?

Did the cracks contribute to the roll over?

There was a report of a vehicle roll over (NSW RFS Cat 9) near Narrabri on Monday 22nd Jan 2018.

The welfare of those involved is the highest of priorities. It does appear that everyone is okay without serious injury.

It is now very important that the NSW RFS acts upon any reports received to determine if this accident (reported as a tyre failure) or the resulting vehicle roll over are in any way connected to the faulty wheels that were reported in November 2017.

Fire Breaks in the Form of Parklands

Fire Breaks in the Form of Parklands

Governments and fire authorities needed to consider taking a more local approach, and introduce on the outskirts of towns and cities clever landscape designs that included irrigation and green fire breaks in the form of parklands, that could work in conjunction with burn-offs to help mitigate bushfire risks.

Across Australia, early Europeans commented again and again that the land looked like a park. With extensive grassy patches and pathways, open woodlands and abundant wildlife, it evoked a country estate in England. Bill Gammage has discovered this was because Aboriginal people managed the land in a far more systematic and scientific fashion than we have ever realised.

Our Summer Magazine is Available as a Download

Our Summer Magazine is Available as a Download

If anyone wants to save an electronic copy (pdf format) of any of our published magazines go to http://volunteerfirefighters.org.au/vffa-magazines or navigate using the main menu to “Magazines”.

If you did not get the glossy printed edition sent to your mailbox, then you may need to update your mailing details or sign up for a free membership.

Magazines can also be viewed online at: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/59795888/vffa-2017-v9-2-summer