Students 'fire up' in training
FIRE crackles as it winds its way through the dry bushland south-west of Warwick.
Every movement of the burn off, as well as any change in weather conditions, is closely monitored by about 20 sets of watchful eyes.
Yesterday, a group of 14 Warwick State High School students, along with half a dozen members from Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS), performed a regulatory burn-off in the hills behind the Warwick Archery Club.
As well as performing a vital task ahead of a worrisome bushfire season, the students were also assessed as part of their 17-week program for their Certificate II in Public Safety (fire fighting operations).
QFRS mitigation and education officer for south-west Paul Storrs was one of the assessors.
He said conditions were in their favour, with not even a gentle breeze threatening to turn things sour.
"This is the first live fire for most of the group," he said.
"They've done a lot of training for this though and while they're prepared, I would imagine some of them would be anxious about being assessed."
The group began the 32 hectare burn-off at the highest point, which Mr Storrs said was for a number of reasons.
"Fire burns slower when it moves from top to bottom," he said.
"It also has less intensity, which means it's better for the surrounding environment."
Students Joe Manwaring and Katelyn Hill said they were "pretty excited" about their first burn.
"I'm feeling pretty confident about it - we've had a bit of training," Katelyn said.
It wasn't the first for Nicole Christensen, who had done it with the brigade for a previous training day.
The students have about seven weeks until they finish their program, which is a joint initiative between QFRS and Warwick State High School.