Australia — Landholders are to get a greater say in how bushfires are tackled in the wake of concerns raised about the response to blazes in the Rylstone district.
Some farmers questioned what property Rural Fire Service (RFS) crews fought to protect during the blazes, which scorched thousands of hectares last November.
One of the proposals which has come out of a meeting between the New South Wales Farmers Association and RFS is for certain people, who have a good knowledge of their local areas, to help crews identify what property should be protected.
Assistant Commissioner Dominic Lane says having landholders provide greater input into firefighting operations will be part of an annual review.
“In this particular case it just highlighted a couple of areas where we could make communications a little bit clearer,” he said.
“There’s a great deal of talent within that area and people that could assist firefighting managers and senior volunteers by providing local knowledge. The main job over this winter is to identify these people and see how we can use them.”
Assistant Commissioner Lane says the review will not be carried out until the bushfire threat eases.
“We are still in the middle of the fire season. We are in that period where we undertake our debriefing process not only with representative groups such as the farmers’ association but also with our own brigades and volunteers,” he said.
“All of that comes together at the end of the fire season to undertake an overall review and takes us into the next year.”