Accordingly, we would greatly appreciate support from staff in Park Programs Branches and the Biodiversity and Conservation Division who are willing to contribute to the bushfire response by joining an Incident Management Team, Mr Fleming wrote, adding the jobs would be strictly office-based.
One staff member, who requested anonymity, said the request for help was a sign the NPWS was running out of people to tackle fires.
The person added that clearing out of staff over the years meant there were few with lengthy terms of experience such as from the big blazes in 2002 among the executive ranks.
A department spokeswoman said the request for experienced staff was aimed at mobilising additional skilled resources and manage the load on frontline NPWS staff by freeing them up to focus on on-ground work.
In effect, we are managing available resources to ensure a consistent, effective effort for the duration of the fire season, while looking after the safety and welfare of firefighters, she said.
NPWS has so far contributed more than 20,000 staff days to the bushfire response and is typically deploying over 300 staff every day.
The Rural Fire Service said they had been inundated with requests to help since the fire season began.
We are seeing an increase in enquiries, an RFS spokesman said.
Since the first of September, weve had more than 9000 applications to volunteer through the RFS website as well as people calling and approaching local brigades directly.
He said there had been roughly nine times as many applications as this time in 2018, and that those who were unable to help fight fires directly could find a way to help.
Theres always a place for people to support the firefighting efforts, even if theyre not on the front line, he said.
Theres people doing catering, administrative support, communications, public engagement. Theres always room for more people and we welcome them join.
On Wednesday, more than 2200 personnel battled around 150 bush and grass fires in NSW, with over 500 vehicles and 111 aircraft involved.
The RFS declared total fire bans for Greater Sydney, the Hunter and seven other districts on Thursday. Most face severe fire dangers.
Much of eastern NSW, including large parts of Sydney, continued to be blanketed by heavy air pollution from the bushfire smoke.
Peter Hannam writes on environment issues for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Matt Bungard is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.
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