A team effort to combat bushfire

A team effort to combat bushfire

19 September 2013

published by www.northerndailyleader.com.au

Australia — THEY’RE the combat agencies called in when a bushfire breaks out and yesterday they got up to speed in preparation for what could be a busy season.

The Rural Fire Service might get the emergency call when a blaze erupts, but often other authorities are called in to play their part and minimise the risk to homes and the community.

National Parks officers, Tamworth Regional Council, Trade and Investment, TransGrid, regional emergency managers and volunteer representatives sat down to make sure they were all ready in the event a fire took hold.

The bushfire season usually kicks off on October 1 but it was brought forward a month early this year and started on September 1 due to high fuel loads and warm weather across the zone area.

Tamworth RFS Superintendent Allyn Purkiss said the bushfire management committee meeting was held pre-season to plan, as well as post-season in April for a debrief.

“When a bushfire does occur, when the pressure is on, you need to know what to do and who to call,” Superintendent Purkiss said.

“Whether you need to close roads, close rail lines or shut down power or something else. The meeting is about building those relationships with the other agencies, to ensure the job goes off without a hitch.”

Up for discussion at yesterday’s roundtable was the list of jobs completed over the winter, as well as what was still to come.

“What we’ve been up to over the winter, all the hazard burns that have been carried out and everyone details their burns,” Superintendent Purkiss said.

“And training, plus what they’ve done to prepare for summer.

“It’s a chance for us all to get together and ask questions and get an update on what is happening.”

Also laid out to the agencies was the RFS plan and the issues it’s facing as the bushfire season sets in.

It spent much of the cooler months training crews, carrying out hazard reduction burns and getting plans into place should the call go out for assistance.

Superintendent Purkiss said police, community services and state rail also had a seat at the bushfire management table.

“When you’re dealing with a fire emergency, we’re all in the combat agency group,” he said.

“It’s that committee that is planning in a room how they are going to fight the fire … because big fires cross multiple tenures sometimes, not just one piece of land.”

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