RFS top brass inspect forestry’s fire preparations

RFS top brass inspect forestry’s fire preparations

RFS Assistant Commissioner Rebel Talbert, FCNSW Chief Forester Ross Dickson and RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers.

Fire season preparations in the State Forests surrounding Tumut have received a tick of approval from top NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) officials who visited the region to inspect Forestry Corporation of NSW’s fire readiness this week.

Forestry Corporation’s Chief Forester Dr Ross Dickson said the NSW RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers and Assistant Commissioner Rebel Talbert visited the region on Wednesday to inspect Forestry Corporation’s plantation protection strategies and discuss firefighting coordination ahead of the high fire risk period.

Local National Parks and Wildlife Service representatives also participated in the discussions.

“The State forests surrounding Tumut contain some of NSW’s most valuable timber and protecting these resources and the surrounding communities from the risk of fire is a top priority for Forestry Corporation,” Dr Dickson said.

“Last financial year we lost no plantations to fire and we’re leaving nothing to chance as we move into the high fire danger period this year.

“We completed a number of strategic hazard reduction burns last Autumn to reduce the fire risk, our forest firefighters have been through annual fire training and fitness testing and we’ve brought 18 additional staff on board throughout the summer to work on fire protection activities in pine plantations around Tumut, Batlow and Tumbarumba and be on call for firefighting emergencies.

“We’ll also be manning fire towers throughout the high risk period to constantly scan the plantations so we can coordinate a rapid response if a fire breaks out.

Dr Dickson said the forest environment was constantly changing from varying weather conditions, lightning storms and dust from machinery and forest traffic, meaning the fire towers are important to assist with the rapid detection of smoke and early warning signs, such as storm development.

“We work closely with the NSW RFS as part of the state’s coordinated firefighting effort and taking the Deputy Commissioner and the Assistant Commissioner through our preparations is an important part of this partnership to protect local communities and forests from the risk of fire,” he said.

Forestry Corporation is responsible for more than two million hectares of native and plantation forests and has been involved in firefighting in NSW for 100 years.