Derek

Fire Management Officer

Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources

How did you get to where you are today?

I studied Conservation and Park Management as part of my Bachelor Degree of Applied Science at the University of SA.

I started working with National Parks SA as a tour guide at Seal Bay Conservation Park on Kangaroo Island before I moved to a Ranger role at Flinders Chase National Park.

When I moved back to the mainland, I worked as a Ranger and then Senior Ranger at Cleland Conservation Park and Black Hill Conservation Park.

Fire Management was always part of my role as a Ranger and this experience helped me to win my current role as a Fire Management Officer.

What does an average day look like?

An average day for me very much depends on the time of year.

In winter, I am busy planning for prescribed burns, visiting landholders, assessing fuel hazard, undertaking environmental assessments, planning for pre and post burn weed control and assisting in the planning and delivery of training for our fire crew.

Autumn and Spring are the seasons when we undertake our prescribed burns to reduce fuel hazard in key areas across the landscape.

Summer time means I have to make sure every day that my colleagues and I are ready to respond to bushfires that may occur anywhere in the state.

What do you love about your job?

I love working in the outdoor environment and the variety this brings. I love that we undertake almost all of the ‘hands on’ work required in this field and I get to work alongside people who are very knowledgeable, passionate and skilful in what they do.

I also love being able to travel to so many different areas within our beautiful state to undertake my job.

Why do you do what you do?

I do what I do because I believe in the role we all have to play in protecting our environment. I do what I do to protect South Australians and their assets from bushfires and to improve our natural environmental resources.

What do you see are some of the benefits of working in the public sector?

One of the benefits of working in the public sector is the quality and amount of training that you undertake. Quality training allows you to do your job better and allows you to progress in any direction you want to take in your career.

We also enjoy a flexible working environment which means you can have a good work life balance.

Why have you chosen to work in South Australia?

I chose to work in South Australia to be close to my family and friends. But having travelled extensively throughout Australia, I believe SA has a great mix of environment, job opportunities and a quality of life that makes it a great place to bring up children.

As a state I think we are really underrated in the standard of work we achieve and the quality of life we have.

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