THE Green Triangle’s major forest managers have pulled together in Dartmoor on Wednesday for a Fire Equipment Expo before Friday’s official start of the fire danger season in the Lower South East.
A Country Fire Authority and Forest Fire Management Victoria initiative, the Expo took place at the Dartmoor Oval where the 10-member Green Triangle Forest Fire Cooperative (GTFFC)* met for a final strategy session and equipment check before they head into the fire danger season.
GTFFC spokesperson Greg Saunder said the Cooperative is indicative of the strong cross-border collaboration between forests managers and fire authorities with a focus on enhancing the region’s fire protection and suppression mechanisms.
“Current industry firefighting resources include more than 350 staff members and contractors and around 85 pieces of equipment,” he said.
“On bad fire days we ensure all equipment is available at strategic locations across the Green Triangle region and we undertake patrols in plantation areas.
“The industry invests thousands of hours annually on training for new and existing personnel in various roles from firefighters to incident management staff.
“We also partner with fire authorities to undertake joint training events and fire simulations to insure all our resources work seamlessly together to prevent or minimise losses to our communities.”
Mr Saunder said the GTFFC was formed two years ago to build on the solid foundations of the Forest Owners Conference (FOC) that was formed 40 years ago after the devastating Caroline fire in 1979.
“The FOC is a collaboration between industry members themselves and between industry and the fire authorities in Victoria and South Australia,” he said.
“This has resulted in, among other things, the formation of Country Fire Authority and Country Fire Service forest industry brigades and the introduction of fire-bombing aircraft to the region through industry funding which allowed bombers to be on standby on bad fire days.”
Australian Forest Products Association SA Branch Manager Leon Rademeyer said cross-border cooperation between SA and Victoria has always been critical during fire danger seasons as bushfires don’t discriminate between state lines.
“It was heartening to see interstate plantation managers and fire authorities coming together to make final preparations to strengthen the Green Triangle’s fire protection and suppression capabilities – especially against the backdrop of raging bushfires in SA, Victoria, NSW and Queensland,” he said.
“These men and women do not only protect plantation estates, but also surrounding bushland and local communities. For that they should be commended.”
*GTFFC members are: Australian Bluegum Plantations, AKD Softwoods, ForestrySA, Green Triangle Plantation Forest Company of Australia, Green Triangle Forest Products, Hancock Victorian Plantaions, OneFortyOne Plantations, PF Olsen, SFM Environmental Solutions and Timberlands Pacific.