Author: Website Coordinator

Congratulations Robert Webb

It is with great pleasure that the VFFA announces the awarding of the prestigious Nuffield Scholarship to Robert Webb.

Rob is the Captain of the Tarana Rural Fire Brigade in the Oberon / Lithgow Zone.

This scholarship will allow Rob to travel the world to study the effects of fire in agriculture. This is a highly relevant topic in Australia’s agricultural environment at the moment and as such, Rob will be reporting to industry on the completion of his studies.

Rob’s family were all ecstatic at the news and were by his side at a special award presentation in Hobart on Thursday evening, September 18th.

The VFFA offered its full support to Rob during the application period. VFFA President, Peter Cannon, the Executive and VFFA members wish Robert every success during his time overseas and where ever his studies may take him in the future.

Congratulations Rob, we know that you will fulfil this role with pride and professionalism.

Robert Webb - Tarana Captain

Content Sharing

Credit where credit is due

The VFFA believes strongly in giving credit where credit is due.

One such occasion, Brian Williams (VFFA Vice President), Captain of the Kurrajong Heights Rural Fire Brigade completed a major Hazard Reduction in his area with support from the NPWS.

Brian said “we received an exceptional level of support from the NPWS, Hawkesbury District Manager, Mr. Glen Meade and his team”.

The VFFA wrote to the Hon. Rob Stokes, Minister for the Environment on August 17th to acknowledge a great effort on the part of the NPWS, assisting Kurrajong Heights Captain, Brian Williams and his team in completing a major Hazard Reduction on the Tabaraga Ridge at Kurrajong Heights.

We have also received feedback from the RFS Monaro Team about some excellent fire mitigation work carried out by the NPWS.

There are many areas of concern relating to the land management practices of the NPWS but on these occasions the NPWS needs to be congratulated.


Content Sharing

Firefighters appalled by Coonabarabran bushfire management


By Joanna Woodburn
Updated 15 Sep 2014, 2:34pm

The National Parks and Wildlife Service should be stripped of its firefighting responsibilities, a volunteer firefighters group has told a parliamentary inquiry.

An Upper House committee is investigating the response to the bushfire in the Warrumbungle National Park in January last year, which burned more than 90 per cent of the park, destroyed 53 homes and killed hundreds of livestock.

Volunteer Fire Fighters Association (VFFA) president Peter Cannon told the inquiry he was “absolutely appalled at how it was managed”, saying the command structure did not work.

“We’re all basically being trained in what is required and it is a complete failure in my eyes on this fire,” he said.

Mr Cannon was asked if a single organisation should be responsible for firefighting in New South Wales.

The Rural Fire Service (RFS), NPWS and the Forestry Corporation of NSW currently share responsibility for firefighting.

“Firefighting authority should be removed from National Parks because they are not firefighters,” Mr Cannon said.

VFFA vice-president Brian Williams gave evidence about the communication between the RFS and landholders.

He said many RFS group captains in the Coonabarabran area were not initially told a fire had broken out.

“We need more local expertise to come in and assist and they would have jumped at the chance but they were out of it; they were out of the loop,” Mr Williams said.

Earlier, former silviculturist Vic Jurskis gave evidence about how parks and land should be managed to prevent major bushfires.

He said the Coonabarabran disaster showed what would happen if NPWS did not carry out fire prevention work.

“It’s not just that area. It’s any area that if you don’t graze it and/or burn the country it’ll turn into scrub, it’ll turn into a time-bomb and one day it will explode,” Mr Jurskis said.

He said he would like to see regulations simplified to facilitate rather than prevent hazard reduction.

Click HERE to read the original media article.



Content Sharing

Bring Back the Blue Shirts – Survey

blue_shirt_300x300Congratulations to everyone that’s contributed to this fight for what we love, our Blue Shirts, and as previously said; to the founders of the Facebook page, a brilliant job you have done…thank you.

Now everyone’s had a good chance to witness the arrogance of Head Office towards its Volunteers. Sad considering that they are paid to support us, not dictate to us for its we who physically fight the fires, we don’t do it in air conditioned office, we’re the ones that are “out there” staring the fires in the face. One man’s ability to bury ones head deep in the sand for fear of losing face is sad indeed. Keep supporting the Facebook page, show your support & spread the word among all other RFS Volunteers that there is now a Survey available to gauge your thoughts on the Blue Shirts return. Click on the Survey link below:

Bring back the blue drill shirt Survey

For twenty years & more, RFS Volunteers have purchased the Blue Shirts out of their own pockets & at much great personal expense!

Last sales the shirts sold for $54.00 each. The RFS Commissioner is on record saying:

“I will not be banning Volunteers from wearing Blue Drill Shirts, particularly when Volunteers have paid for these themselves.”

Content Sharing

The RFS is Not Listening

Radio 2ST

Published: 02 September 2014 on the 2ST web page.

Blue or Yellow Shirts for RFS Volunteers?

In recent times there’s has been a great deal of angst amonst RFS volunteers about the yellow shirts replacing the blue drill shirt.

Barry Mac spoke to Ben Sheppard Media Officer from the RFS and Mick Holton, Chairman of the Volunteer Firfighters Association Region South.

Have a listen to Mick’s comments on this issue.


Click HERE to read the original media article.

This post is intended as a means of sharing media information. The views or opinions expressed in the content may not be shared by all NSW FRS Volunteer. Readers are encouraged to form their own opinions based upon a wide range of information and experience.

Content Sharing

RFS Volunteers want their Blue Shirts Back

With the Commissioners directive to the RFSA to stop further sales, this action on his part has created anger & outrage among RFS Volunteers across NSW, which is evident in the Facebook page established to support the shirts return….the Commissioner has done himself no favours in ignoring the Volunteers calls for the shirts return.

As we’ve been saying, if he won’t listen to your concerns (& considering we’re highly likely to confront an extremely bad Bushfire Season this year AND let’s not also forget that there’ll be a NSW State Election in March next year), we feel that all Volunteers should send their thoughts on this matter to the Minister, the Hon. Stuart Ayres.

Demand a display of recognition of the many voices being loudly heard in support of the Blue Shirt’s return. Its long over due that Volunteers start receiving at least one Free Blue Shirt per year & have the sales of the shirts be reinstated as they previously were.

We encourage everyone of you, your family & your friends to urgently email the Ministers Office & let him know how you feel:

The Hon. Stuart Ayres, MP
Member for Penrith
Minister for Police &
Emergency Services

Content Sharing

Green Tape Prevents Volunteer Rural Firefighters from Reducing Bushfire Risk

VFFA Media Release – 3rd September 2013

The Volunteer Firefighters Association (VFFA), the body representing the Voice of Volunteer Rural Firefighters in NSW refutes the claim by green alarmists that climate change is the cause of the recent bushfires in New South Wales.

It’s ridiculous to blame climate change when we know there has been far worse bushfires stretching back to the earliest days of European settlement in Australia including the Black Saturday Victoria 2009, NSW Bushfires 1994, Ash Wednesday Victoria 1983, Blue Mountains NSW 1968, Black Tuesday Hobart 1967 and Black Friday Victoria 1939, said Peter Cannon, President of the VFFA.

The VFFA is angered by comments from the green lobby groups that tackling climate change was more important than prescribed burning of forest fuels to reduce bushfire risk. The real blame rests with the greens and their ideology as they continue to oppose and undermine our efforts to conduct hazard reduction in the cooler months and to prevent private landowners from clearing their lands to reduce bushfire risk.

Hazard reduction is the only proven management tool rural firefighters have to reduce the intensity and spread of bushfires and this has been recognised in numerous bushfire enquires since the Stretton enquiry into the 1939 Victorian Bushfires.

The amount of ‘green tape’ we have to go through to get a burn approved is beyond frustrating; says Peter Cannon. The VFFA is calling on the NSW State Government to reduce the amount of green tape involved in planning and conducting hazard reductions, so that our Volunteer Firefighters can get on with the job of conducting fire prevention works in the cooler months to prevent the inevitable summer bushfire disasters that are now becoming a more regular feature.

The NSW State Government must also provide sufficient funding for bushfire hazard reduction works on a planned and sustained basis, including the creation of asset protection zones and upgrades of all fire trails in high bushfire risk areas.

Remember that it’s far more cost effective, say around 66 to 100 times more cost efficient, to prevent wild fires through hazard reduction than it is to have reactionary fire response, which is what we have at the moment. With the great number of lost homes and decreasing property values through these wild fires, what then will the total fiscal amount be…….when it could have all been prevented by effective Hazard reduction!

To increase the area treated by prescribed burning on bushfire prone lands from the current level of less than 1% per annum to a minimum of 5% per annum, as recommended by the Victorian Royal Commission and many leading bushfire experts.

Hazard Reduction by prescribed burning has been identified as a key management tool to reduce the intensity and spread of bushfires in national bushfire enquiries since the 1939 Stretton Royal Commission. In this regard the VFFA supports:

  1. Strategic and targeted hazard reduction by prescribed burning to reduce forest fuel levels and bushfire threat to human life (including fire fighter safety), property and the environment in areas identified as high bushfire risk.
  2. Bushfire risk management planning approach based upon the ‘Canobolas’ Model in NSW.
  3. Integrated hazard reduction by prescribed burning and complementary methods such as slashing, grazing and cultivation.
  4. The provision of adequate recurrent state and commonwealth funding to rural fire agencies, land management agencies and local government for the creation and maintenance of asset protection zones and fire trails in high bushfire risk areas on a planned and sustained basis.

Ongoing relevant research on fire behaviour, prevention and management and the effects of fire on biodiversity through the bushfire Cooperative Research.

Mr. Peter Cannon

Content Sharing

NSW RFS Library – July 2013

Bush Fire Research and News

This paper presents findings from the 2009 fires; “The results of this study highlight that people who are inadequately prepared and who take action at the last moment are more likely to be forced into dangerous responses such as late evacuation, untenable defence and passive shelter.”

“People say ‘They’re just things’, but they’re not. They’re our memories”.

In May 2011, wildfires destroyed around 500 homes along with buildings, churches and a library in the Town of Slave Lake in Alberta, Canada. On a recent visit to Canada, our own Elise Tasker met the Mayor of Slave Lake Karina Pillay-Kinnee. Along with a personal message Karina sent this book which tells of harrowing escapes, courage and fear, relief and despair, community and caring, sacrifice and service.

In 2010 a cave-in at the San José mine in Chile trapped 33 men under 700,000 metric tons of rock Experts estimated the probability of getting them out alive at less than 1%. Yet, after spending a record 69 days underground, all 33 made it out alive. The rescue is a case study in how to lead in situations where the stakes, risk, and uncertainty are incredibly high and time pressure is intense.

Extreme Fire Behavior (EFB) as defined by The National Wildfire Coordinating Group describes a level of fire behaviour which includes one of more of the following; high rate of speed, prolific crowning/spotting, fire whirls and strong convection column. This book presents current and emerging research into EFB including contributions from Australian scientists. “Predictability is difficult because such fires often exercise some degree of influence on their environment and behave erratically, sometimes dangerously.”

The Sydney Basin Bioregion contains large and densely populated urban centres including Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. The authors caution that the potential for arson ignitions due to the increase in population settlements close to vegetation and an increase of severe fire weather conditions points to an increased risk to human and property loss. “The Sydney Basin Bioregion, New South Wales (NSW) is the most populated area of Australia situated within landscapes dominated by fire-prone, sclerophyll forests (Bradstock et al.2009).”

Commencing on page 71 this updated report from the Climate Commission includes a state by state appraisal of what they foresee as key climate change risksThe Commission continues to warn of a link between climate change and the increase of extreme weather events.

Evidence based research into role of gender in emergency management is a field of research that is gaining momentum. An ageing population associated with longer life expectancy and increases in people living alone will present ongoing challenges for emergency services especially within the areas of community engagement and education.

Firewise estimates there is around 8.8 million school students living in the WUI presenting an enormous but largely untapped opportunity. Generally this age group can understand basic fire science and how to reduce risk. They are able to pass on this information to family members including households where English is not the primary language. However the real challenge is how the messages are framed and delivered to particular age group in order to be effective.

Read about the CFA’s adoption of satellite broadband capability in their new mobile command vehicles. This new capability increases communications resilience in the event of disasters such as fire and flood. This function is expected to support their already existing Command Centres.

“The mobile command vehicles will never fulfil the role of these Centres, but they may take the role of Divisional Command, mobilising to a staging area and talking back to the Command Centre.”

Craig Brownlie CFA

Clinton Neumann from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service gives advice to brigades on how they can implement an effective training plan. The service has developed a simple template to assist in identifying needs and gaps. If you would like a copy please contact the library.

See other recent additions to the Library catalogue

Many of these are available as full-text documents for immediate viewing.
New Books, DVD’s, web links, journal articles…

If you have any queries please contact us in the Library by email:  or phone: 8741 5455.

The NSW Rural Fire Service Library is a member of ALIES – Australasian Libraries in the Emergency Sector.

Content Sharing