Jake and koala Like many FSOs and project firefighter employed over the summer, Jake who was based at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning’s (DELWP) Colac depot, was surprised by the variety of his role.

While his main role as an FSO meant he was primarily involved in a range of emergency preparedness activities he also participated in a number of planned burns and most recently assisted with a koala management program in the Budj Bim Indigenous Protected Areas in south-west Victoria.

The program is helping to protect declining manna gum trees and special Cultural values across the area, due to the overabundance of koalas in that locality, by helping to reduce the number of fertile female koalas in the area and support better health outcomes.

Jake said he really enjoyed his time working at DELWP.

‘I wanted to challenge myself by trying something completely new, learning new skills, and contributing something positive to my community,’ Jake said.

‘I soon learnt there was no average day as an FSO and that's the beauty of the role!

‘I am very proud of the work I did to assist the District Duty Officer in the Incident Control Centre during an emergency, being part of several planned burn crews and supporting ecological and Cultural projects like the koala management program.’

Working with the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners, vets, and the DELWP project team, Jake helped catch some of the koalas found in the Budj Bim Indigenous Protected Areas so they could be given a thorough health check to support a healthier and more sustainable local population.

‘My interest in maintaining a healthy environment stems from wanting to protect and strengthen the natural areas that I love to spend time in,’ Jake said.

‘While working at DELWP it was good to get a behind-the-scenes look at how everyone was working to protect the ecological and cultural needs of the different regions.

To register your interest in becoming an FSO or a project firefighter for the 2022 – 23 season visit the Firefighting and Employment page.

Jake in his FSO roleJake on a planned burn