Students included Victoria Police Arson Squad detectives, CFA members, as well as staff from MFB, the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Parks Victoria. They studied fuels and fire behaviour, as well as the traces and indicators that wildfire leaves in its path.
CFA instructors Fabian Crowe, Mark Gilmore and Brett Wagstaff also took the students on a journey of discovery in the forest near Taradale. This included the students lighting and observing small test fires. The area used was an unburnt space in the centre of a DSE fuel reduction burn, preserved specifically for this purpose.
In addition, the trainees learnt about legal processes and how to accurately determine the origin, cause and path of fires. The course also covered correct reporting and data management.
The investigators from this course will join the ranks of those tracing the cause of fires across Victoria. This will not only lead to the apprehension of more firelighters but will also add to the knowledge used to target prevention programs.