Forestry Corporation staff recognised for fighting fires

Coffs Harbour Forestry Corporation staff were amongst those recognised for fighting bushfires.

LAST month, more than150 Forestry Corporation staff from northern NSW, including staff based in Coffs Harbour, were awarded the National Emergency Medal for their role in managing the 2019-20 bushfires.

The National Emergency Medal is awarded to persons who rendered sustained or significant service during nationally-significant emergencies in Australia.

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One of Forestry Corporation’s roles is as a statutory firefighting authority and staff spent more than 300,000 hours firefighting during the Black Summer fires in 2019-20 as part of the State’s coordinated firefighting response, supporting the Rural Fire Service and all other firefighting agencies.

It has been a firefighting authority for more than 100 years and has primary responsibility for preventing and managing fires across two million hectares of State Forest.

Frontline firefighting is a part of the job for staff at every level of the organisation, from senior management through to casual and seasonal staff and forestry firefighters must complete annual fitness tests and meet training requirements and national accreditation standards.

Daniel Tuan, General Manager of Forestry Corporation’s Hardwood Forests Division said the National Emergency Medal was a significant honour and congratulated the staff who received the award.

Mr Tuan said, “Every fire season, our forestry firefighters are on the ground in local communities and forests and during the 2019-20 Black Summer fires our staff were deployed to fires around the State to protect life, property and forests”.

“Our firefighters are first responders to fires in State forests, but during major bushfires like the Black Summer fires they also work in communities to carry out frontline property protection, incident management and other community firefighting as part of the State’s coordinated firefighting response,” he said.

“Our staff play a critical role in NSW’s joint firefighting response and the National Emergency Medal is a fitting recognition of the commitment they showed and the risks they took during that national disaster in order to keep communities safe.”

By Andrew VIVIAN

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