Tributes flow for firefighter who died battling alpine blaze

 

Authorities have paid tribute to Victorian father-of-two Bill Slade after he was killed by a falling tree while battling a blaze in the state's alpine region.

Parks Victoria chief Matt Jackson said Forest Fire Management firefighter Mr Slade. 60, was a "much loved colleague, friend and member" of the Wonthaggi community.

"He will be sorely missed by Parks Victoria and our thoughts are with his family, his wife Carole, his children Ethan and Steph, and his colleagues in community during this deep tragedy," Mr Jackson said.

"Bill contributed over 40 years of firefighting and clearing are national parks in south Gippsland and I recently had the privilege of presenting him with his 40 year service recognition, which was an honour.

"I pay tribute to his incredible service in land management and fire management over many years, and acknowledge the loss of the community and the feeling of grief today by many in the days to come, not only at this point in time.

"Bill played an incredible role with Parks Victoria forest fire management."

Mr Slade was killed while battling a blaze in the Omeo area on Saturday, Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp confirmed.

"Family and fellow emergency personnel are being informed and will be supported," Forest Fires Management Chief Fire Officer Chris Hardman said in a statement.

"The safety and wellbeing of our people is our highest priority."

The firefighter's death will be investigated by Victoria Police, who will prepare a report for the coroner.

It comes after another Forest Fires Management worker Mat Kavanagh, 43, died on duty when his vehicle crashed on the Goulburn ValleyHighway on January 3.

Mick Roberts from Buchan and Maramingo Creek man Fred Becker were also killed in the fires at East Gippsland on New Year's Day.

- with AAP

A firefighter has died while battling bushfires in Victoria's alpine region.

The Forest Fire Management Victoria firefighter from Parks Victoria was killed while battling a blaze in the Omeo area on Saturday.

"Family and fellow emergency personnel are being informed and will be supported," Forest Fires Management chief fire officer Chris Hardman said in a statement.

"The safety and wellbeing of our people is our highest priority."

The firefighter's death will be investigated by Victoria Police, who will prepare a report for the coroner.

"It is with great sadness that we confirm that a Forest Fire Management Firefighter from Parks Victoria has been involved in an incident while working on a fire in the Omeo area resulting in a fatality," a spokesman from the State Control Centre (SCC) of Victoria confirmed to 9News.

"Family and fellow emergency personal have been informed and will be supported."

The SCC said the death was being investigated and a report will be prepared for the state coroner.

"The safety and wellbeing of our people is our highest priority," said the SCC.

"The matter is being investigated by Victoria Police who will prepare a report for the coroner."

The tragedy brings the death toll to four in Victoria.

On January 3, after another Forest Fires Management worker Mat Kavanagh, 43, died on duty when his vehicle crashed on the Goulburn Valley Highway, AAP reported.

Mick Roberts from Buchan and Maramingo Creek man Fred Becker were also killed in the fires at East Gippsland on New Year's Day.

At least 27 people have died in the bushfires nationally - with 20 confirmed deaths in New South Wales, three in South Australia and four in Victoria.

Find rolling coverage of the Victorian bushfires here.

- AAP


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