NSW RFS Mid Coast Incident Management Centre in Tuncurry

Operations cell: Daniel Gordon, Brett McMillen and David Hagarty take care of the "here and now" of the fire situation. Photo: Anne Keen

Operations cell: Daniel Gordon, Brett McMillen and David Hagarty take care of the "here and now" of the fire situation. Photo: Anne Keen

During a class three fire situation the NSW Rural Fire Service sets up an Incident Management Centre, and recent fires in the Mid Coast region called for one to be set up in Tuncurry.

NSW RFS Mid Coast district officer, Stuart Robb explained how a fire has three classes of distinction. 

Class One means is a fire that is controlled within the district, generally meaning the local fire brigade.

Class Two requires assistance from another agency like National Parks and Wildlife Service or Forestry Corporation of NSW.

A Class Three fire may include one large fire or multiple fires requiring an incident management team.

For the current situation in the Mid Coast region, which for the RFS is from Bulahdelah (north of Karuah River) to Kempsey (south of Kundabung), from the ocean across to the Barrington Tops National Park, a bush fire emergency was declared on Sunday, September 24 and the centre was opened.

Planning cell: Team members from NPWS and NSW RFS discuss strategies for the fires. Photo: Anne Keen

Planning cell: Team members from NPWS and NSW RFS discuss strategies for the fires. Photo: Anne Keen

With a region that covers 14,000 square kilometres, an incident management centre brings together multiple agencies, support teams and resources so the fires can be monitored from one location, which could be either Tuncurry or Wauchope.

NSW RFS commissioner appointed Superintendent Kam Baker as the incident controller in charge of coordinating the fire fighting effort, with personnel working in team “cells”: operations, planning, logistics, aviation, management support, public liaison and communications.

In the management cell, the incident controller sets the plan for the day.

To become a volunteer, contact your local brigade. - NSW RFS

The planning cell looks at what the fires are going to do based on the weather conditions, and works on what strategies can put in place and what resources will be needed.

The “here and now” of the current fires are assessed by the operations cell, while the communication cell talks to the land crews and the aviation cell talks to the air crews.

The logistics team ensures all the teams and crews have any supplies needed including food and accommodation.

Most of the people in the centre are volunteers, working tirelessly across several weeks to keep the community and its assets safe.

For more information about getting involved and becoming a volunteer, contact your local rural fire brigade. If you're not sure where your closest brigade is, visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/volunteer/Join-the-NSW-RFS

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