Night firebombing wraps up with workshop

7 April 2019

Around 40 personnel from across Victoria and interstate attended VEMI for a final workshop as part of the night firebombing trial for the summer season.

Representatives from NSW, TAS, SA, DELWP, CFA, MFB, CASA, NAFC, EMV, and aircraft companies met to report the outcomes of the trial and to provide advice and feedback on their experiences and interactions of the program.

The debrief looked at what worked well, what didn’t and opportunities that exist to consider in future night operations.

This workshop provided an opportunity to report back to agencies and company personnel along with partners such as CASA and NAFC at the end of the trial, and this completes the briefing provided to the group at the start of the trial.

Project operational lead Wayne Rigg said debriefs sessions were extremely valuable to gain a greater understanding of people’s experiences and opinions.

“It was great to have our interstate colleagues at the workshop, to be able to provide them with information on the trial and what we have learned because they are also watching the development of this capability closely to see how it may be utilised in their own jurisdictions,” he said.

“Having CASA attend also enabled them to hear first-hand experiences of the trial including from ground commanders, who utilised the night capability this season.”

Andy Koren from FFMVic, who worked on the Timbarra fire during the night undertaking back burning operations and Don Wilkie from CFA, who worked on the helmet track fire, both shared their experiences of the use of the capability at night and how it assisted them to meet their objectives.

“This program has been built from scratch and we have implemented a safe system of work throughout the trial. The ability to bring people back together to validate what we have achieved and offer improvements means that we are able to constantly improve the program,” Mr Rigg said.

“To continue this, we need input from as many personnel as possible as they help shape the evolution of the capability to meet their needs, whether that is from a ground, district, region or state perspective.

“We are very proud of the collaborative approach to this program joining with industry, regulators and agencies to look at how night vision technology can help our firefighters and communities in the future.

“Workshops like these are really valuable in gaining insight and lessons learnt.”