Tathra Bushfire – Indigenous Burning Story

Tathra Bushfire – Indigenous Burning Story

Why don’t we listen to Indigenous land management experts?
In the Bega Valley Fires Independent Review, there was no mention of the case study where the Tathra fires did not burn previously treated, cultural burn areas.
There has been no follow up at all (with the Aboriginal Land Council or the Indigenous People) on how we can extend that outcome.
Indigenous People are burning country on the South Coast right now in a bid to prevent wild fires to the land just like Tathra example and healing it with native vegetation instead of dead leaves and rubbish.
These young Indigenous people are only in their early twenties and already ten times more connected to the country than most of the so called experts on fire mitigation.
They are doing all this with no wage, no vehicles, and no fire fighting equipment at all.
There are young Indigenous people in Tathra burning the effected areas right now to prevent invasive native regrowth which makes the country full of fuel to make the next fires in ten years far worse.
This is the first project of its kind in modern history in recovery of torched country.
Victor Steffensen has been burning all over Australia this year, have said “the window to burn is huge if you know how to read the country. You mob gotta stop leaving us and the land out of the conversation”.
Meanwhile…
The RFS Commissioner, Shane Fitzsimmons challenges aspects of the Independent Review into the Bega Valley Bushfires.

VFFA response to the Bega Valley Fires Independent Review

VFFA response to the Bega Valley Fires Independent Review

The Bega Valley Fires Independent Review was commissioned by the NSW State Government in response to public pressure and media interest in the Reedy Swamp Fire that occurred on 18 March 2018, and subsequently impacted on the township of Tathra.

The media reported a long-standing turf war between the two predominant fire services in NSW and the Minister for Police and Emergency Services responded with an announcement that Mr Keelty will be conducting a full review for the government so that we don’t get these questions in the future.

The VFFA welcomes any opportunity to openly and transparently review and debate topics that impact upon public safety and the provision of emergency services to the people of NSW.

This post contains the VFFA response to this review other related documentation.

The Sky’s the Limit – It’s a Different Story if you need a Shed

The Sky’s the Limit – It’s a Different Story if you need a Shed

Are we Forgetting Something?
There is no disputing that aviation plays a vital role in our firefighting capability, but is the state government spending too much time and taxpayers money developing RFS capability whilst they are neglecting the simple principles of mitigation, early detection and suppression using their vast network of volunteer firefighters on the ground.
When it comes to fire suppression, the VFFA is not convinced that large fixed wing aircraft are the answer. We do support using smaller fixed wing aircraft and helicopters for transportation of remote area fire teams (RAFT) and to support ground crews with aerial suppression activities.
With reference to fixed wing aircraft, it should be noted that a fire retardant drop using a DC10 (Very Large Air Tanker – VLAT) costs us $45,000 per drop. Operation of helicopters for firefighting activities is significantly cheaper.
Whilst we acknowledge that this helicopter aquisition has the potential to enhance the states remote area response reach and capability, but we must not neglect the resources that we already have.
It has also been suggested that the money could have been invested into fire towers and early detection systems that have the potential to alert firefighters of a fire before it becomes too large.

2018 Winter Magazine Online and in my Kit Bag

2018 Winter Magazine Online and in my Kit Bag

Have you got your copy of the Winter 2018, VFFA magazine?
If not, then you need to sign up as a volunteer or supporter (it’s FREE) and get two glossy copies of the volunteer fire fighter each year delivered to your mailbox. New members get a copy mailed out (whilst stocks last).
Alternatively, you may prefer to download a copy or make use of our online reading options. Visit our magazines page for this edition or to browse through earlier publications.

RFS Membership Form Update

RFS Membership Form Update

The new RFS Membership Form has been updated with changes that include:
Section 5, Child Related Activities was updated because the agency responsible is now known as the Office of the Children’s Guardian (formerly known as the Commission for Children and Young People).
Section 8, Applicant Declaration was updated to address the changes in legislation concerning personal information, privacy, child related activites and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission’s (ACIC) National Police Checking Service requirements.
Section 9, Parental or Guardian’s Consent was updated with additional information and two check boxes for the parent or guardian to give their consent based on the applicant’s age at the time of joining.
Section 10, Brigade Validation was updated to include a Brigade checklist with three checkboxes to ensure the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check/Application and Informed Consent Form has been reviewed and relevant documents have been sighted.
Section 11, Confirmation of Interview was updated with checkboxes for the Brigade to consider the applicant’s suitability for membership.
Section 6, RFSA Membership was updated to fix the tick or cross error (as reported in a recent VFFA web site post).

Farmers Deserve Better

Farmers Deserve Better

Farmers in NSW are facing the worst drought in decades and our Government is doing nothing about it. 
The time for listening and touring is over. 
NSW Farmers have spoken – they want:
Legislated drought assistance. 
Reinstate freight subsidies for farmers. 
Drought prevention programs and infrastructure like sheds, silos and stock fodder bunkers. 
SIGN and SHARE this petition to send a message to the NSW Government that farmers deserve better.

Burning gets a Bad Rap

Burning gets a Bad Rap

This article is being posted to encourage readers to consider that we may be giving hazard reduction burning a “bad rap”.

There is a tendency to complete large burning activities in a short period because of available resources and pressure to comply with statistical burning activity targets that report upon the amount of area burned, rather than the quality of the burn. This tendency creates a situation where country is subjected to fire activity that is way too hot.

It has been suggested that hot burning activities were less frequent when individual brigades were allowed to conduct burns with short notice. The red tape that is now required before a match is struck has created narrower window of opportunity to complete a burn. Greater numbers of firefighters, more drip torches, more fire and more expensive methods of burning are now used to get the burn put in quickly.

A tick or a cross?

A tick or a cross?

The VFFA has raised this issue before but the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and the Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) does not seem to listen.
The Volunteer Membership Application form that is available on the My-RFS web site has not been updated and it contains errors.

Bargo’s new Fire Station

Bargo’s new Fire Station

Bargo’s volunteer firefighters finally have a new shed to call home.
The NSW Rural Fire Service, brigade members and dignitaries officially opened the Bargo fire station at 10 Avon Dam Road on Saturday, May 12.
NSW RFS senior assistant commissioner Bruce McDonald said the $1.3 million station was partly funded by the brigade members’ fundraising effort.
The station features four truck bays, clothing racks, a meeting room, office and kitchen. The station is larger than the brigade’s previous site and also features training areas.

VFFA President’s takes on the Deputy Premier

VFFA President’s takes on the Deputy Premier

The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party announced the campaign of their candidate for the Monaro electorate, Mick Holton yesterday (4th June) in Queanbeyan .
The electorate is currently held by National Party leader John Barilaro on a slim margin, and Mr Holton says that locals deserve better.
“What I keep hearing from people across this electorate is that ever since John Barilaro became National Party leader after the Orange by-election he just stopped listening,” Mr Holton said.
“Mr Barilro promised change, but like National Party leaders before him, he just does whatever the city Liberals tell him to do.”