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.

Cool Season Burns

Cool Season Burns

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.

Cultural Burning – Evolving with community and Country – Canberra 10th and 11th May 2018

Cultural Burning – Evolving with community and Country – Canberra 10th and 11th May 2018

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.
Oliver Costello—Firesticks.
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 Rural Fire Brigade

Honeybugle Rural Fire Brigade

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.

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…

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.