In the wake of one of the Hunter's worst fire seasons on record, the call has gone out for seasonal firefighters to help bolster local firefighting ranks during the coming summer months.
NSW Forestry Corporation is advertising locally for firefighters in Maitland, Bulahdelah, Morisset and Mandalong to help manage more than two million hectares of State forest in NSW.
Hunter firefighters were glad to see the end of the bushfire danger period at the end of March last year.
Severely hot and dry weather conditions combined with dangerous cases of arson, meant our local Rural Fire Service crews were kept busier than usual over the 2016-2017 bushfire period.
Several dangerous fires raged last summer at Abermain, Neath, Kurri, Port Stephens and in the Upper Hunter.
Some of the blazes passed within metres of homes but remarkably none were destroyed.
A catastrophic fire danger rating was declared in the Lower Hunter for two days in February, when the region experienced heat in excess of 45 degrees.
Forestry Corporation's Maitland-based Protection Supervisor Peter Tarjanyi said this was the fourth year firefighting staff had been brought on for the fire season.
"Forestry Corporation staff are trained firefighters, so we are always ready to quickly respond to a fire.
"However each year we bring on a number of seasonal staff in the local area to boost our firefighting capability and give us the extra firefighters we need if a wildfire breaks out," Mr Tarjanyi said.
Forestry Corporation is looking for people who have a high level of fitness, enjoy working outdoors, who are available to work from September until around February next year depending on weather conditions and who can work after hours and on weekends as required.
A core part of the seasonal firefighting role is responding to fires locally, being on standby during fire season and assisting with firefighting in other parts of the state if required.
"If we are lucky enough to have a quiet fire season, we also have a program of summer work for our seasonal staff in State forests throughout the local area ranging from road maintenance to maintaining picnic facilities and walking trails and hazard reduction burning."
Forestry Corporation's Fire Management Officer Cameron Wade said firefighting staff were provided rigorous training in a range of skills.
The organisation is responsible for preventing and suppressing bushfires in NSW forests as well as assisting in wildfire management across the state as part of NSW's coordinated firefighting effort.
Seasonal firefighters are trained to nationally recognised units of competency in bushfire fighting as well as in a range of other skills from first aid training to operating four wheel drive vehicles.
Interested people can apply or obtain more details at the NSW Forestry Corporation’s website. Applications must be completed online at iworkfor.nsw.gov.au