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ACTRFS welcomes new recruits ahead of summer

The ACT Rural Fire Service (ACTRFS) has welcomed 48 new recruits ahead of summer and in preparation for the current 2020-21 bushfire season.

The newest recruits have joined the ACTRFS after there was record community interest in joining the service in 2020 after a summer of horror bushfires.

ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) Commissioner Georgeina Whelan said last fire season was one of the busiest on record for the ACT and NSW.

“The 2019-20 bushfire season continually saw how hard our skilled firefighters and support crews work to keep us safe when bushfires and emergency situations threaten and I offer my sincere thanks and gratitude to all the ACTRFS members for their outstanding efforts”, Commissioner Whelan said.

“In total, we have increased our rural firefighters by 58 in 2020.

“The ACTESA has also recruited 10 additional members with previous firefighting qualifications in operational roles to further enhance bushfire management and response.”

While 2020 has had its fair share of challenges, the upcoming bushfire season is expected to be different to the previous two.

With the season starting a month later than usual due to rainfall, the ESA says forest flammability is expected to remain low over the coming months due to a wetter than average spring and further rainfall expected. However, the risk of grass fires could be increased due to grass growth after lots of rainfall.

ACT Emergency Services Minister Mick Gentleman said the new RFS recruits had committed themselves to the training course, adapting to COVID-safe operations in preparation for the 2020-21 bushfire season.

“I would like to thank our experienced ACTRFS members for passing on their knowledge and skills, especially after such a busy fire season,” Mr Gentleman said.

“Their most recent experiences in NSW and here in the ACT will be invaluable in developing the next generation of firefighters.”

Commissioner Whelan said recruitment for the ACTRFS would re-open for interested parties in 2021.

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