The Royal Commission into Black Saturday has heard there was a shortage of experienced incident controllers during the first catastrophic fire danger rating in the Wimmera in January.
The commission heard on the first code red day in the Wimmera, on January 11, Horsham’s control centre was found to be fully staffed and exceeding its required preparations.
But the Country Fire Authority’s (CFA) John Haynes told the hearing that Ararat’s centre was understaffed, reaching only six staff, despite requiring at least eight.
The commission heard Ararat, Casterton and Hamilton were under-prepared and without the most experienced controllers because upgrades to their facilities had not been completed.
The CFA said there was a general shortage of level three operators across the state, as many were tied up in lower regional roles.
The CFA will begin training more regional officers at the end of April, in order to free up more experienced controllers for leadership positions.