Zero-tolerance approach to fires
Forest Fire Management Victoria showed off one its state-ofthe-art heavy firefighting trucks in Shepparton yesterday.
The Unimog, manufactured by Mercedes Benz, features a suite of capabilities including invehicle hose monitors, fire curtains, falling object protection and ‘cabin deluge’ systems to defend the crew of four.
The specialised truck carries 4000 litres of water and is designed for all-terrain use.
The firefighters were joined by local police to spread the fire safety message ahead of what is projected to be a dangerous summer for the region.
FFMVic assistant chief fire officer Aaron Kennedy said it was frustrating that of the 105 local fires since July, 70 had been started by camp fires.
Illegal fires and risky behaviour will not be tolerated this fire season according to Victoria Police’s Senior Sergeant Ross Brittain who joined Mr Kennedy at the event.
‘‘Victoria police work closely with firefighters to stamp out illegal activities during the official fire danger period and total fire ban days,’’ Snr Sgt Brittain said.
‘‘We take a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to fires . . . When there is a fire, fire investigators attend and if it’s deemed illegal, police will attend and they will prosecute who is at fault.’’
Along with the fire safety message, Mr Kennedy spoke of emergency service’s new and improved airborne firefighting and surveillance capabilities.
‘‘The state’s aircraft fleet complements on-ground firefighters and heavy machinery as part of the number one priority to protect lives and property,’’ Mr Kennedy said.
‘‘This summer we are facing an increased risk of bushfires due to the underlying dryness on both public land and private land. However, our region is well resourced and prepared to respond to bushfires.’’ ● A severe fire warning and total fire ban are in place today with temperatures expected to soar into the very high 30s. A list of banned and restricted activities is available at cfa.vic.gov.au
State-of-the-art: Forest fire operations officer Andrew Corker with one of FFMVic’s high-tech new Unimogs.
Ready for anything: Fire Operations Officers Andrew Corker and Frank Nieuwenhuis.