Abby Steegstra DELWP

The Wangaratta-based former childcare worker has joined Forest Fire Management Victoria at Benalla for the peak summer period.

‘My first year working as a project firefighter was a steep learning curve, but I am feeling a lot more prepared this season,’ Abby said.

‘The training and support you receive is really good, and the more experienced firefighters take you under their wing and look after you.

‘There’s always a lot to learn, and new places to see, which is why I applied to return this summer.’

During the off-season the 25-year-old self-confessed ‘country girl’ spent her time working in the Kimberley Ranges in Western Australia.

‘I’ve worked in the Kimberley’s twice now and just love it. It has such an amazing history and it’s so remote from everything else. It’s almost like living in a different world,’ Abby said.

Abby’s not the first member of her family to work as a forest firefighter with the department, her father Dean also spent time on the Benalla crew before moving to a permanent role with fisheries, and later local government.

‘Dad’s advice was pretty straight forward when I told him I was joining the crew’, Abby said.

‘He said ‘work hard, listen more than you talk, and don’t get bitten by jumping jack ants’. It was pretty good advice!’

And what does the future hold for the budding, young firefighter?

‘I’m really enjoying my time with FFMVic and I’m really appreciative of the opportunity to further develop my firefighting skills,’ Abby said.

‘To be able to go to work each day and know that you are benefitting the community is also very rewarding. It makes you feel good about what you do.’

Like the majority of FFMVic’s Project Firefighters, Abby will work during the summer period responding to bushfires and maintaining recreation sites, before helping to deliver the region’s planned burning program.

‘I really like working with the team at Benalla, so I’m definitely keen to come back, or even put my hand up for a permanent role if one becomes available in the future,’ Abby said.

To register your interest in becoming a project firefighter for the 2022/23 season visit the Firefighting and EmploymentFirefighting and Employment page.

Page last updated: 17/12/21