Meet Forest Fire Fighter John!

Hi there Junior Rangers!!

My name is John and I work as a Forest Fire Fighter in Grampians/ Gariwerd National Park.Gariwerd is in western Victoria and is full of rugged mountains, rocky cliffs and beautiful forests. There are a lot of native plants and animals here. Some of them aren’t found anywhere else in the world! How cool is that!

Gariwerd is also a very special place for First Nations people. There is a lot of evidence that First Nation People have lived in Gariwerd long before any cities, towns or roads existed.  Some of the rocky caves have rock art in them that is over 40,000 years old! Most of Victoria’s ancient rock art is found here in Gariwerd. Have you ever seen any ancient rock art?

Why are you a Project Fire Fighter John?

I became a Project Fire Fighter because I really like working outside. I like helping to protect all the special things in the Gariwerd. It’s very important we care for these special places because if we don’t they may not be here in the future.

As a Project Fire Fighter one of my main jobs is to help put out bushfires in the summertime. These bushfires are usually started when lightning from a storm cloud hits an unlucky tree causing it to catch fire.

Our firefighting team use hoses from our special four-wheel-drive fire fighting vehicles (the one I’m standing in front of called a G-Wagon) to squirt water from to put the fire out. We get to drive these vehicles everyday which is really fun! Sometimes the bushfires start high up on the rocky mountains where our hoses won’t reach. When this happens, we use tools (rakes and chainsaws) to clear the vegetation in front of the fire so it won’t spread.

While I’m at work I get to use firefighting trucks called Unimogs and G-wagons. Sometimes we even work with special planes and helicopters (aircraft) that can carry lots of water inside them! These aircraft drop water on the fires to help put them out. It’s very exciting to watch!

What do you like about nature?

I really like to watch all the native animals when at work and at home. I see kangaroos, emus and lots of other birds every day. Sometimes I even see echidnas and snakes! Snakes are one of my favourite animals. I love to watch them slide along the ground and through the vegetation. I think it’s very clever how they move. I always make sure I don’t get too close!

When you’re not a work John, what do you like to do?

When I’m not at work I still really like being outside. I like mountain bike riding, trail running, hiking and kayaking. If it’s outdoors and fun count me in! I’m glad I live and work in Gariwerd as there are lots of places to explore. Adventures keep me fit and healthy, which is very important when you’re a Project Fire Fighter.

Well I better say goodbye for now as I have to get ready for another awesome day at work in one of the best National Parks in Victoria! Hooray! I hope you get to visit the Gariwerd soon.

See you later!

John.

Thank you John for sharing your story with us! Junior Rangers, we hope you enjoyed reading a story from one of the Project Fire Fighters at Gariwerd. Keep an eye out for the All Fired Up Junior Ranger activity over autumn where you can become a firefighter! Until next time, we will see you soon!