Australia — Recruitment has started for more than 500 people to join Victoria’s bushfire fighting force.
Gippsland’s assistant manager fire, David Rash encouraged fit and healthy Victorians to play their part in the firefighting effort with the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE).
“DSE will employ more than 500 people statewide, with about 130 of those in Gippsland to help with track clearing, road maintenance, putting out bushfires, planned burning and fire recovery activities,” Mr Rash said.
The project firefighters (PFFs) will join more than 1300 permanent, on-ground firefighters in preparing for and suppressing bushfires in parks and forests.
“Last year, more than 680 project firefighters were recruited and we expect about 70 per cent of these to return to battle the bushfire threat this season,” Mr Rash said.
“We routinely see CFA members who work as project firefighters as a way of building on their bushfire skills, while still serving their community.”
Mr Rash said the love of the bush and the opportunity to develop skills which people could take back to the community were key benefits for PFF recruits.
“PFFs gain valuable experience and development which they can use later, whether this be on farms, in helping their neighbours and community, or with the CFA,” he said.
Successful applicants must hold a current manual driver licence and pass a fitness and medical test to ensure they can cope with the physically demanding work.
“Successful applicants will be well trained and skilled to be able to work as part of a team, which is critical for working at fires,” Mr Rash said.
Most PFFs work from November and December until the end of March.
Many positions are retained to assist with planned burns in autumn.
DSE’s web-based, e-recruitment system, which helped to streamline the application process last year, will be used again this season.
Interested applicants can access information, find answers to the most commonly asked questions and submit their applications in one place by visiting www.dse.vic.gov.au/fires.
Access to the online recruitment system will be available when applications open this Saturday.
Applications close on Sunday 7 September.
Application kits can also be obtained by phoning the DSE Customer Service Centre on 136186, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting a DSE office.