Learning bushfire pros and cons

Nowan Williams (front) at the bushfire course with Lisa White, John Lynwood, Dan Flanders, Tony Dootson, Steven Skinner, AJ Perkins and Daniel Dootson.
Nowan Williams (front) at the bushfire course with Lisa White, John Lynwood, Dan Flanders, Tony Dootson, Steven Skinner, AJ Perkins and Daniel Dootson. BRUCE THOMAS

ABORIGINAL land managers are studying the positive and negative impacts of bushfire on the Coffs Coast.

The bushfire awareness course at Rural Fire Service headquarters in Coffs Harbour is helping our Indigenous Repair to Country work teams.

They’re the ones who undertake bush regeneration, manage weed control and eradication and are involved in building work for councils and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The RFS team community safety officer, Jamie Bertram, has been taking the participants through their paces with input from the NPWS.

“My focus is to try and incorporate the teams to get involved with hazard reduction burning on land owned by the local Aboriginal Land Councils and get them out there caring for their country,” Mr Bertram said.

“They can do this by using fire to reduce weed species and fuel loads and lessen the chance of wildfires.”

Teams from Corinda-Red Rock as well as the Coffs Harbour and Sawtell areas have been studying fire operations and extinguishment, fire behaviour, wildfire suppression and risks and hazards.

“The bushfire awareness course involves an indigenous component, which reflects work that’s been happening on Cape York,” Mr Bertram said.

“We were up there in July on 840,000 square hectares of traditionally-owned land. We’re also looking at job opportunities that could come up for these fellas down the track.”

 Firefighters around NSW are engaged in specialised training aimed at protecting urban communities from bushfires.

Crews from NSW Fire Brigades, the FRS and NEWS have joined forces in the operation.

“Here in NSW we have many urban communities on the doorstep of bushland which could be vulnerable in the event of a bushfire,” said NSW Emergency Services Minister Steve When.

“This new training is designed to boost the skills of dozens of personnel from the key emergency service organisations in preparing for and managing fires in these at-risk areas. Our ongoing commitment to training will ensure our emergency services can keep providing world-class fire and emergency protection to the people of NSW.”

The course includes updates on Bureau of Meteorology forecasting and warning services, mapping and new community warnings introduced in the aftermath of the Victorian bushfires.

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