READY TO ROLL: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll and members of the Rural Fire Service get ready for a training and testing exercise near Fordsdale on Saturday.
READY TO ROLL: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katarina Carroll and members of the Rural Fire Service get ready for a training and testing exercise near Fordsdale on Saturday. Lachlan McIvor

Fireys fine tune skills ahead of bushfire season

AROUND 600 acres of scrub and bush near Fordsdale was burned over the weekend in preparation for a particularly dry bushfire season.

Upward of 80 members of the Rural Fire Brigade were joined by a number of their executive leadership team and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services commissioner Katarina Carroll for a major training and testing exercise.

Lockyer Valley Group Officer Jamie Reside said the operation on Saturday, which formed a part of Operation Cool Burn, had achieved its aims.

As well as an important hazard reduction effort, the day allowed fire fighters to reinforce their skills and get to grips with new equipment, appliances and technology that will prove crucial in the field going forward.

"We're coming up to our fire season," Mr Reside said.

"So this is to polish up on our skills, learn new skills and learn new team members. We've got a lot of new members coming out.

"This is not necessarily their first fire, but it might be their first large scale incident and possibly their first set-up where they're using an incident management team and that reporting structure."

 

RFS Assistant Commissioner Tom Dawson said the burn would give the area a "defensive point" during bushfire season.

"So this is well planned, this is possibly three years in the making," Mr Dawson said.

"There's a fuel load, there's some scrub and bush out there - a large area. If we take this out and put a very cool fire through it, it will make it safe come the bushfire season."

The chance for brigades to gather together before the new season - dubbed Operation Synergy - was important.

"At the end of the day, we've got a lot of gear and equipment and sheds and buildings but we're people," Mr Dawson said.

"It's a great opportunity to see the volunteer family come together, commit together and work together and then go home and know the job's done go and then do it next weekend.

"It's real training, you can't beat this. This draws ours people together and they walk away more confident.

"They're very competent, you want to build their confidence - that keeps them safe."


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