Prior to the practical day, the members attended a theory session in the evening. These were held at different locations to allow for the distances being travelled. The practical day was held on Saturday 2nd June, and for most of us, began with a very early drive through the beautiful Tallangatta Valley, past a full Lake Hume. As it turned out, it was a day for beanies and long-johns, with the temperature never making it into the teens.
At Shelley, the course participants were divided into crews, with each crew accompanied by an assessor. The participants took turns in the role of Strike Team Leader, and briefed their “Crew Leaders” at each stage. From Shelley, the crews headed to the Staging Area, set up at Cudgewa Fire Station, to be met by a the Staging Area Manager. Along the way, various issues were thrown at the Strike Team Leaders via trunking radio.
From the Staging Area, crews headed out to the Operations Point at Bluff Creek Campsite. A camp-fire was very quickly lit, and we also had a camping stove and billy going so that we could have a hot drink. The low-lying fog did not lift at all, but at least everyone could pretend they were surrounded by smoke!
From Bluff Creek Operations Point, the crews headed into the Park to manage their tasks, taking fuel loadings and weather observations while they were at it. When all the tasks were completed, everyone headed back to Cudgewa for a de-brief.
The newly qualified Strike Team Leaders are Bruce Morrison of Leneva RFB, Mark Muldeary of Mitta Mitta RFB, Shane French and Matt Dobson of Wodonga West RFB, Gerard Peeters and Rowan Montoneri of Wodonga UFB, Mark Goldsworthy of Baranduda RFB, Andrew Chalmers of Tallangatta FB, Ken Star of Granya RFB, and Terry Bailey of Nariel Valley RFB.
The course couldn’t have been run without Volunteers assisting Instructors Trevor Ebbels and Allan Rodgers. We truly appreciate the time given by Wally Prior as the Staging Area Manager, and Don Downey, Neville Frichot, Jon Hansen and Howard Smith, who were the assessors out with the crews.
From Kerry Hansen, Training Officer for Districts 23 & 24, and Communications Officer and Logistics Officer on the day!