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BUSHFIRE CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE

Bushfire management across our vast State needs a strong, collective approach so we can grow our capability to ensure a safer WA.

Overview

Managing bushfire across our State is a huge task, so we’ve established the Bushfire Centre of Excellence to help to make our communities safer.

The Bushfire Centre of Excellence provides knowledge, technical expertise, science and research, plus training for bush firefighters and other emergency services personnel across Western Australia.

The Centre is the first of its kind in Australia and is located in the Peel Business Park in Nambeelup, about an hour south of Perth. Visit us today.

Background

Plans for a Bushfire Centre of Excellence in WA began after the Special Inquiry into the January 2016 Waroona Fire (Ferguson Report). The report recommended the WA State Government create a rural fire function (Rural Fire Division) to enhance the capability for rural fire management and bushfire risk management. It also recommended that this function would establish a Centre for fire management.

In 2017, the concept of a Bushfire Centre of Excellence was discussed at the Bushfire Mitigation Summit and the inaugural Western Australian Prescribed Burning Forum. It was agreed that creating and capturing learnings through a Centre of Excellence would build bushfire capability for the future.

In 2018, the State Government announced a rural fire reform package in response to the Ferguson Report recommendations. Changes included the establishment of a Rural Fire Division within the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) as well as the establishment of a Bushfire Centre of Excellence.

Following the announcement, DFES consulted with more than 200 stakeholders through workshops, presentations and forums. This informed the Bushfire Centre of Excellence’s key functions and service delivery.

The Centre’s guiding principles were also validated through the consultation process:

    • Reflect and serve our bushfire management sector.

    • Recognise excellence everywhere in bushfire management.

    • Decentralise the delivery of our training programs and services.

    • Design our activities and services to be scalable across Australia and internationally.

    • Operate collectively across agencies through shared training and learning.

    • Represent our communities with diverse and inclusive staff.

    • Recognise and incorporate Aboriginal people’s fire knowledge and experience.

    In March 2019, the Shire of Murray was selected as the preferred Centre location. The decision was made following an extensive Request for Proposal process where local governments across the State could formally express their interest.

    Bushfire Centre of Excellence Timeline

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    Ferguson Report released

    Western Australian Prescribed Burning Forum

    Request for Proposal process

    Recruitment of permanent staff begins

    Tender for construction awarded

    Land acquired for facility

    Traditional Fire Program Coordinator recruited

    Assist with Planned Burning training package trial

    Bushfire Mitigation Summit

    Bushfire Centre of Excellence announced

    Shire of Murray announced as host

    Transition to interim facility

    Sod turning and traditional smoking ceremony

    Bushfire Training Products live

    Bushfire Training Product roll out complete

    Bushfire Centre of Excellence facility complete

    December 2020

    June 2016

    December 2020

    Ferguson Report released

    Bushfire Mitigation Summit

    Western Australian Prescribed Burning Forum

    Bushfire Centre of Excellence announced

    Request for Proposal process

    Shire of Murray announced as host

    Recruitment of permanent staff begins

    Transition to interim facility

    Tender for construction awarded

    Sod turning and traditional smoking ceremony

    Land acquired for facility

    Bushfire Training Products live

    Traditional Fire Program Coordinator recruited

    Bushfire Training Product roll out complete

    Assist with Planned Burning training package trial

    Bushfire Centre of Excellence facility complete

    Our Functions

    The Bushfire Centre of Excellence has four key functions designed to serve the bushfire sector. These functions are also designed to strengthen the ways we build and share skills and information to reduce bushfires and their impacts.

    Our training team is focused on the development and delivery of bushfire and planned burning training within the bushfire sector. Training is developed and delivered collaboratively with a range of relevant stakeholders.

    Courses are delivered from the Bushfire Centre of Excellence facility but training is mainly delivered in the regions. Unless specifically stated, courses are open to DFES volunteers and staff, local government volunteers and staff, staff from Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions and other stakeholders in the sector. Click here to download our Training Calendar.

    Firefighters use equipment in front of truck

    We’ll gather knowledge from a variety of sources to continually improve the way we identify, share and apply bushfire knowledge. This includes the fire knowledge and traditional practices of Aboriginal people, academic and experiential bushfire knowledge, as well as bushfire research to understand lessons learnt and identify gaps. These insights will help us to prioritise, develop and refine programs and resources to enhance the capability of the bushfire management sector.

    People stand and listen to traditional fire knowledge and practice

    This function is leading the engagement, outreach and communication-related activities of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence. Our priorities are:

    • Latest news and other communications
    • Our relationships with the bushfire management sector
    • The accessibility of bushfire knowledge and information
    • Bushfire Centre of Excellence events
    The governor of WA smiles in a group
    Business Management

    A dedicated team is providing the key support services to ensure the smooth running of the Centre and all day-to-day business activities.

    Our priorities are to deliver high-level business and executive support services to the function areas.

    Our team manages the Centre’s facility and is leading the transition into our new state-of-the-art building.

    DFES employees talk to each other

    The Facility

    A render of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence entrance

    From the Kwinana Freeway turnoff, the Bushfire Centre of Excellence facility is located off Lakes Road, Nambeelup, on the newly established Dollyup Street (before Gull Road). The Centre is open from 8:00 - 4:00pm Monday to Friday.

    The facility consists of an administration wing and a training wing, which branch off from opposite sides of a central foyer and form the shape of a boomerang.

    A render of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence entrance
    A render of the rear of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence
    A render of the Bushfie Centre of Excellence Foyer
    Floor plans of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence

    Key features include:

    The Centre is the first building to be completed in the Shire of Murray’s up-and-coming Peel Business Park, which is set to become an innovative business hub.

    The design of the building was developed with input from representatives across the local Bindjareb community, the Shire of Murray, volunteer associations, Parks and Wildlife Service and other key stakeholders.

    Traditional Fire Program

    The Bushfire Centre of Excellence is committed to gathering traditional and cultural knowledge about fire practices.

    To achieve this, the Centre has established a Traditional Fire Program which is considering how we can better link contemporary fire management with traditional fire practices.

    A Traditional Fire Programs Coordinator and Traditional and Cultural Fire Officer are developing the program and engaging with Traditional Custodians, land managers and local communities to better understand the application, uses and cultural connection with fire. The Centre will work to promote existing uses of traditional fire and facilitate knowledge sharing opportunities.

    They will work closely with Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Local Governments and Aboriginal Land Councils to further develop skills, knowledge and local capacity.

    DFES Aboriginal trainees complete the first flag raising at the Bushfire Centre of Excellence accompanied by Cultural Fire Officer Clifton Bieundurry singing a traditional song.

    Latest News

    Opening ceremony celebrates completion of Australian-first Bushfire Centre of Excellence

    27 January 2020

    Practical completion of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Bushfire Centre of Excellence (BCoE) has been celebrated with a formal ceremony on Monday 25 January 2021.

    Read more

    Download the resources

    As part of the Bushfire Centre of Excellence’s commitment to knowledge sharing, we will collect a range of bushfire related resources. This section will grow as we work to source and develop reliable and applicable products.

    If you can recommend or have access to bushfire resources, please email us.

    More Information