A deep love of northeast Victoria’s alps was the catalyst for Bec Roberts to make a “snow change” from the city to Bright.

A Field Operations Supervisor with Forest Fire Management Victoria, Bec plays a key role in ensuring crews are ready to respond to bushfires and other emergencies.

“It’s a really busy role, which I love,” she said.

“You need to be highly organised and have all your ducks in a row or things can get away from you quickly.”

Now back home after a deployment to Alberta, Canada, Bec is busy ensuring the Bright depot is ready for the influx of visitors to the areas and increased risk of fires this summer.

“It’s definitely a busy time of the year as we welcome new seasonal firefighters, complete medicals and training, and make sure that all our vehicles, equipment and machinery are operational,” she said.

Female firefighter deployed to Canadaian bushfires,

“Being in Canada and seeing first-hand the impacts of the fires on community and the environment, has certainly reinforced the importance of the role we play.”

Bec was part of Victoria’s second contingent of firefighters deployed to the Canadian wildfires which burnt more than 18 million hectares of land in the country’s worst ever bushfire season.

She was deployed to a base camp at Keg River to work on the Basset Fire which would grow to 234,000 hectares.

“We were flown in and out each day with some days being smoked out or extreme fire danger which prevented us from going in,” she said.

“Working alongside local crews, contractors and international agencies was an incredible experience and something I’ll never forget.”

Prior to joining FFMVic in 2020, she worked as a ski hire manager on Mt Hotham for 15 years before the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the industry.

“During the pandemic opportunities for full time employment on the mountain were scarce, so I applied for one of the project firefighter roles at Bright.

“I was already a CFA volunteer on the mountain, so I had a good understanding of FFMVic and the type of work that I would be doing.

“The big drawcard for me was the outdoor nature of the role, learning new skills, and the sense of connection and giving back to the community.”

A firefighter in forest setting.

While her role hasn’t been without challenges, Bec says she loves being a part of the close-knit Bright crew and broader Ovens Fire District.

“There’s great camaraderie in the Bright depot which is extremely important when you are working in situations and environments which can be unpredictable, and dangerous,” she said.

“We really value and work hard to develop and maintain respect between one another which goes a long way towards a positive culture.”

When she’s not in her greens, Bec can be found snowboarding and skiing in winter, and riding anything with two wheels for the remainder of the year.

“I really feel very lucky to be able to live and work near the mountains. I get a real sense of satisfaction that the work we do helps reduce the risk of bushfires, but it also helps protect this incredible environment.

“I love Bright and everything it has to offer.”