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Volunteer firefighters upskill at planned burn

A PLANNED burn exercise in Broadwater allowed over 100 volunteer firefighters to undertake much needed training on Sunday, following a quiet fire season.

With over 400 years of experience on the ground, volunteers from several south-west brigades took to the side of the Hamilton-Port Fairy Road, burning around 10 kilometres of grass.

Broadwater Fire Brigade captain and unit incident controller, Hugh McFarlane hailed the day as a great success, which provided an opportunity for up-and-coming firefighters to gain experience.

He said the idea for a large training day was raised at a November Vegetation Management Advisory Group (Vmag) meeting after COVID-19 prevented planned burns from taking place in 2020.

With minimal planned burns last year, Mr McFarlane said several volunteers were unable to gain higher accreditation.

“We’ve had people trying to get qualifications for their CR1 accreditation, we’ve also got people trying to get their strike crew leader accreditation as well and because of the way the season has been, they’ve had limited training opportunities, so we’ve put this together,” he said.

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