Recently, FIFWA members in the Plantation Fire Co-operative, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding for the mutual support in planning and responding to bushfires to address the sharing of resources during bushfires.
The MOU was developed in response to Recommendation 9 of the Reframing Rural Fire Management: Report of the Special Inquiry into the January 2016 Waroona Fire by Euan Ferguson.
The purpose of this MOU is to establish mutual emergency response capability arrangements for bushfires within or near plantation estates and for bushfires where plantation resources may be used to support the local bushfire fighting response. It addresses overarching arrangements for bushfire response between plantation Managers, State fire agencies and bush fire brigades.
The MOU has been agreed to by DFES, DBCA and FIFWA and is currently being circulated to relevant Local Governments. It is a fantastic achievement and a positive outcome for all those involved in drafting and re-drafting the document.
Members of the Plantation Managers Fire Co-operative have had an official Plantation Managers Fire Agreement in place for over ten years. This agreement is extensive and reviewed yearly. It specifies the minimum standards required for staff, fleet and equipment involved in fire suppression, and lists the resources available to share among the Co-operative among other important details. This robust agreement supports the MOU.
In a truly collaborative manner, the Plantation Managers Fire Co-operative not only share data among the Co-operative, but they make it available for DFES and DBCA to upload into their respective mapping systems too. This improves communication and response time, especially in emergency situations. The Co-operative also communicates with Wines of WA to consider the grape harvest and avoid smoke taint. The Co-Operative is a great example of industry, at the forefront of technology and always looking for ways to improve.