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Source: New South Wales Environment and Heritage

The two-day Cross Border Fire Operations Meeting between NSW and Victoria includes specialists from all fire services, land management agencies and the police, with representatives from Albury to the coast.

Acting Director of NPWS Southern Ranges Branch, Steve Cathcart, said: “The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is hosting this year’s annual meeting of experts from both sides of the border and it’s is a great way to ensure we’re all on the same page.”

Fire Operations specialists from all agencies on both sides of the border meet each year to confirm cooperative arrangements prior to the coming bush fire season. Hosting this get-together alternates between the 2 States and is coordinated by the agencies of the host State.

“Having people with this much experience from both states in the same room will enable us to make sure we’re incorporating the lessons learned from the last bushfire season co-operatively.”

“Reviewing the 2019–20 fire season and, in particular the lessons learnt from fires such as the Green Valley and Border fires, which impacted communities along the border from close to Albury to the coast, will be vital.”

These discussions will discuss and plan how to continue to work together to deal with these threats in future, building on the existing strong interagency cooperation.

During the meeting the recommendations from the respective state inquiries and the Royal Commission into Natural Disasters will be considered in relation to cross-border firefighting co-ordination including the initial attack and communications arrangements.

The forum will also have presentations from Mr Dave Owens who was the co-chair of the recent NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry and James McIntosh, NSW Cross Border Commissioner.

Senior staff from the NSW Rural Fire Service and Emergency Management Victoria will also be attending.