Rap­pel crews bol­ster­ing Vic­to­ria’s first at­tack

Australian Forests and Timber - - FIRE SUPPRESSION -

RAP­PEL FIRE fight­ers have been de­ployed 16 times so far this sum­mer, sup­port­ing fire fight­ing ef­forts in re­mote parts of Vic­to­ria. There are cur­rently four For­est Fire Man­age­ment Vic­to­ria rap­pel crews each com­pris­ing eight fire fight­ers, two crews are based at Hey­field in Gipp­s­land and an­other two at Ovens in the state’s north-east.

Rap­pellers are small groups of highly trained fire fight­ing spe­cial­ists who de­scend by ropes from a he­li­copter, they are of­ten first on the ground at­tack­ing fires in re­mote for­est ar­eas of Vic­to­ria.

Vic­to­ria’s rap­pel crews have been de­ployed over the past six weeks to fight re­mote light­ningsparked fires in Gipp­s­land in­clud­ing the Li­cola Cobb Spur Track fire, six kilo­me­tres south-west of Li­cola in early Jan­uary.

In ad­di­tion to ag­gres­sive ini­tial at­tack on fires, rap­pel crew mem­bers may also pre­pare he­li­copter land­ing sites in re­mote ar­eas so that ad­di­tional ground crews can be flown in when there is no other ac­cess avail­able.

When they are not fight­ing fires the rap­pel crews are also re­quired to main­tain their rap­pelling skills and un­der­take reg­u­lar train­ing to en­sure they are al­ways ready to be de­ployed.

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