From operating dozers and graders one day, to assisting whales and dolphins in danger the next, Mallacoota’s Clint Hodson enjoys the diversity an emergency role provides.

After working as an abalone diver and deckhand for several years, Clint opted for a career shift to working on the land and started as a Project Firefighter based in Mallacoota.

“Before I started as a Project Firefighter I worked as an abalone diver and deckhand, so I was at sea all the time. It’s been good to get back on the land,” said Clint.

These days, he works as a Forest and Fire Operations Officer helping to maintain forest tracks and roads, ensuring fire access for emergency vehicles, and maintaining fire breaks to protect local communities.

He operates a range of heavy machinery daily including D4 and D6 dozers, back-hoes, graders, trucks, rollers and tractors with slashers.

However, living in Mallacoota along Gippsland’s magnificent coastline and being a keen surfer, Clint has always retained a love of the ocean.

Clint Hodson enjoys his whale and dolphin emergency role.

This enduring passion led to him to taking on a whale and dolphin emergency role, in addition to his day-to-day role and emergency roles as a Sector Commander for bushfire emergencies and Planned Burn Operations Officer where he oversees bushfire risk reduction burns.

At any time, Clint can be called on to assist with whale entanglements, where they are caught up in a man-made line or net, and whale and dolphin strandings along Gippsland’s coast.

“Alongside Parks Victoria and Fisheries, it’s about working as a team to evaluate the whole scene and identify the type of entanglement, and species involved.”

Now in his seventh year involved in whale and dolphin emergencies, Clint acknowledges the challenging conditions often faced when intervening with stranded or entangled animals. However, the safety of those involved is always the number one priority.

“It’s about just being aware of what’s going on out there because there is a lot involved, especially when the sea is rough.”

Clint Hodson enjoys his whale and dolphin emergency role.

Clint takes part in practical training every year to make sure he retains the specialist skills required to be deployed to a whale disentanglement.

Through his fire emergency role, he has been deployed to major Victorian bushfires over the past 22 years, as well as supporting bushfire emergencies both interstate and overseas.

“I was lucky enough to head over to Canada last year to help with the fires, that was a really good experience.”

“I like having an emergency role because you never know what’s going to happen next and there is a real focus on helping local people, communities and wildlife.”

If you’re interested in a career like Clint's, why not join Forest Fire Management Victoria crews as a seasonal firefighter (November to April) and see where it leads you? Find out more and register your interest on the Project Firefighter recruitment webpage.

Our staff are specially trained to manage whale and dolphin emergencies.

Please keep your distance and call the Whale and Dolphin Emergency Hotline on 1300 136 017 immediately should you become aware of a stranded or injured whale or dolphin.

For more information, visit Whale and dolphin emergencies

Page last updated: 28/05/24