Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

Aerial observation skills taught for bushfire response

[November 2014]

Eleven regional staff from the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) and Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ) recently completed an air observer’s course in Exmouth.

The course trains participants to provide information and intelligence about incidences such as bushfires from an aircraft, increasing the operational capability of land managers within the Pilbara.

Run over three days, and comprising two days of aerial navigation theory and a day of practical navigation assessment, staff were put through their paces in being able to navigate in an aircraft without technological aids such as global positioning systems.

With an increased focus on inter-agency land management in the Pilbara, it was a welcome opportunity for staff from different agencies to complete the training together.

KJ fire management officer Gareth Catt said it was great opportunity to train alongside Parks and Wildlife staff.

“With KJ’s work with Martu taking place in remote areas of the western desert, safe use of aircraft to make observations and carry out land management operations is becoming more important,” he said.

“By working in with Parks and Wildlife staff, we are able to acquire skills from an agency that has been working in the area for an extended period. The continued collaboration of our agencies will help the long term health of the people and country within the Martu Native Title Determination,” Mr Catt said.

Department of Parks and Wildlife staff from the Millstream Chichester National Park and Karratha work centres will use aerial observation skills in the upcoming fire season.

Millstream Chichester National Park based Pest Management Officer Daniel Wingett said it was important to have a number of staff available with the necessary skills as the environment dries out and bushfire risk increases.

“As the fire season rapidly approaches, it’s crucial for the department to have a number of qualified aerial observers that we can call on at short notice to obtain bushfire intelligence within the Pilbara Corridors area,” Mr Wingett said.

For more information, contact Tim Hunt, Fire Planning Project Officer, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Ph: (08) 9184 5197 or email.

Photo: Left to right: Joanne King (DPaW Marine Conservation Officer), Daniel Wingett (DPaW Pest Management Officer), Chris Shine (Shine Air), Matthew Patterson (KJ Men’s Ranger Program Manager), Gareth Catt (KJ Fire Management Officer)