Essential training in the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) for hundreds of prospective firefighters on the Mid North Coast has been delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
After the bushfire crisis impacted the region and the country, thousands of people signed up to volunteer with the service.
March 31 marked the official end to the most devastating bush fire season in the state's history.
NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said this season had been unprecedented in terms of conditions experienced, the loss of lives and property, and the threat to communities across large parts of NSW.
For the Mid North Coast region, district officer Stuart Robb said 600 people signed up to join the service after the bushfire crisis caused devastation across the region.
Mr Robb said unfortunately the essential practical training component and assessment have been deferred, in line with advice from the NSW RFS head office and NSW Health.
However, some of the training, such as the theory component is available online.
Mr Robb said it was an advantage for the service that a lot of the training was already available to members online.
However, the current outbreak does present a challenge in seeing new recruits complete all components of the training.
One Mid North Coast group of about 30 recruits were able to complete their training at the start of February.
The service, Mr Robb said will aim to maintain the new recruits' enthusiasm and interest over the coming months.
The recruits will be able to complete their training once the current situation abates.
The period after the bushfire season is traditionally when the RFS prepares for the following bushfire season.
At the moment, Mr Robb said conditions aren't suited to carrying out hazard reduction burns, due to the high moisture on the ground.
He said hazard reduction operations aren't expected to occur in autumn and the service will instead be looking towards spring to carry out the task.
For more information on how to plan and prepare for a bushfire season, or if you are interested in joining the service, please visit https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/
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