Emergency services burn off and learn at Koyuga

By Ivy Jensen

A CFA training exercise on September 8 saw district firefighters use the jaws of life and carry out a pre-season burn.

About 25 Deakin Group members from Tongala, Wyuna, Yambuna, Timmering and Kyabram brigades, along with Echuca-Moama Search and Rescue (EMSR) and Parks Victoria attended the training session at Koyuga Hall.

Deakin Group officer Justin Wills said EMSR demonstrated how the jaws of life were used in accidents involving trapped people.

"It gave our guys a close-up opportunity to see how they operate and how they cut up a car," he said.

Draughting and burnover drills were done, along with a familiarisation of the Kyabram Bigfill, before firefighters carried out a planned burn.

"They used drip torches to light up dried blackberry bushes to help clean up around the hall area," Mr Wills said.

"It took about three hours and it gave our younger and newer members a chance to train with a real fire."

Captain Harold Montgomery from Wyuna CFA also spoke to members about the Jigija indigenous burning program he attended last year.

Mr Wills thanked the Koyuga Hall committee for use of the grounds and hall, and Tongala Lions Club for cooking a barbecue lunch.

CFA Campaspe catchment commander Michael Masters said the pre-season burn was a good reminder for residents to prepare their homes and farms for the fire season.

"Conditions around Echuca, south to Rochester and east to Kyabram are changing quickly and the window of opportunity to get ready is closing rapidly," he said.

“Farmers should create defendable space around buildings by reducing fine fuels and other vegetation, check water supplies and any maintain firefighting equipment.

“Have a bushfire plan, imagine the worst possible scenario that you could be confronted with, talk about it with your family and develop a plan to address this. Either stay and defend if equipped to do so, or leave early."

For more advice, go to