Firefighter backup

AT least 40 new firefighters are expected to arrive in Mildura in coming months as authorities prepare for the busy summer fire season.

The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) yesterday announced it was aiming to recruit at least 600 project firefighters: field-based, seasonal firefighters employed during the warmer months to assist with planned burning, bushfire prevention and firefighting.

DELWP Mallee district fire manager Phil Murdoch said the program had seen countless firefighters sent to Mildura and surrounds in past years, with up to seven current members of his own team starting their careers as project firefighters.

“It gives us the extra seasonal workforce when we’re really busy,” he said.

“They start off on planned burning then move across to suppression burning as the season progresses.

“We couldn’t run our burning program without them.”

In addition to Mildura, recruits will be stationed at more than 80 other DELWP and Parks Victoria locations across the state.

There are 18 designated positions for indigenous people as well as rappel and hover exit crews – specialist firefighting roles performed in remote locations – and fire support officers.

Requirements for applicants include having a “high level of fitness” and a manual driver’s licence.

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