RFS and Farmers team up to fight fire

An integrated approach to fighting fires has been announced by the NSW Government. Photo: supplied.

A LANDMARK new initiative will help firefighters and farmers work together to better protect communities in regional and rural NSW from bush fires and grass fires.

The NSW Government has unveiled a first-of-its-kind Operational Guide for the use of Farm Fire Units.

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These units are privately owned and operated by landholders and consist of a vehicle-mounted water tank, pump and hose, and the freshly announced guidelines will ensure a more integrated approach to firefighting alongside the RFS.

Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said it is important to harness the local knowledge and skill of private landholders.

“Farmers are often the first responders to grass fires and they understand the risks and seriousness of operating machinery in hot, dry conditions,” Mr Saunders said.

“These new guidelines will provide another layer of assurance for landholders in remote parts of the State whose properties are significant distances away from their nearest town.”

RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers said the Farm Fire Unit Operational Guide is another step in bolstering the partnership between firefighters and farmers ahead of the next fire season.

“Over the last couple of years, we have been working hard to develop a framework for a better, more integrated relationship between farmers and the RFS, and NSW Farmers have played a critical role in developing this,” Commissioner Rogers said.

“The guidelines will enable RFS brigades to better understand the farmer’s perspective and the high degree of skill and knowledge in areas such as land management and how Farm Fire Units can best be integrated into firefighting operations, safely.”

NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said it was great to have these guidelines and framework in place for the working relationship to continue between firefighters and farmers.

“NSW Farmers has appreciated being able to share our important knowledge and we look forward to working with the NSW RFS over the coming months to ensure our grain crops, orchards and livestock are protected against any blazes,” Mr Martin said.

Farmers can access the Operational Guide on the RFS website at http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/plan-and-prepare/farm-fire-safety


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