Winch training to help fight remote fires

Twenty-five Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) firefighters are undertaking winch training to enable rapid attack of fires where access is limited by remoteness, heavy timber or other landscape features.

The Winch Attack Capable Crews Project is funded through a $2.1 million Tasmanian Government commitment over four years and supported by the Commonwealth Government’s National Aerial Firefighting Centre.

The winch capable team will initially involve the training of 23 PWS rapid attack firefighters and two advanced tree fallers.

The implementation of the project demonstrates the Government’s commitment to adopt recommendations from the 2016 and 2019 Australian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council reviews.

This program means a pool of winch-capable remote firefighters will be located across all PWS regions, increasing our capacity to fight remote fires when required.

Following the three days of formal practical training this week, a number of further training sessions will simulate actual conditions that crews will face at fires such as winching through tree canopy and carrying specialized equipment.

The team will build their skills and confidence in working safely around helicopters, undertaking hover exit operations from the helicopter and winch operations and upon completion of the training will receive national accreditation.

It is expected that those who have been trained will be available to undertake winch operations this fire season.

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