Across the Alpine areas, volunteer and career firefighters protect the mountains from fire. There are volunteer brigades in resort towns like Hotham, Falls Creek and Mt Buller. Crews employed through Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMV) manage fires on public lands. Firefighting in alpine environments can bring particular challenges, where summer landscape scale fires alternate with fighting fire in snow covered villages of often closely packed buildings.
This story is from Bec Roberts, who is the the 2nd lieutenant of the Mount Hotham – Dinner Plain Fire Brigade.
I joined the brigade in April of 2018, at that time I was living year round at Mount Hotham and was looking to gain new skills and new opportunities to give back to the community.
It’s a very small community (especially at Mount Hotham!) during summer so, I put in an expression of interest and before I knew it, I was completing my minimum skills course.
Fast forward to 2022 and I am now the 2nd lieutenant of the Mount Hotham – Dinner Plain Fire Brigade and what I enjoy most about being in the brigade is the sense of community and working with people who I wouldn’t usually work with in my day to day life. The people in our brigade have such diverse backgrounds but there is a couple of strong themes that stick out.
One, we all have a passion for the snow and two, we want to give back and protect our mountain community. Some of my fondest memories come from the most challenging of times because that is where I was able to see the members in our brigade go above and beyond every day to protect life and property. This was especially evident throughout the 2019/20 fire season and something I look back on with pride.
I have made friends for a lifetime within this brigade and look forward to continuing learning, growing and doing what I can to give back to the community that has given me so much since arriving for my first season back in 2005. There is a reason I kept coming back to this resort and will do for the rest of my life, the community up here is nothing like I have experienced anywhere else in the world and I feel so blessed to be able to call it home. Bring on the 2022 season!
There are further stories on members of the Mount Hotham – Dinner Plain Fire Brigade available in the second edition of Mountain Journal magazine.
Drone image: Damien Frawley. All other images: Bec Roberts