Among the thousands of social media messages posted at the weekend, these were typical of the sentiments:
“What an amazing job he did over those years. So very sad.”
“A loved and respected member of the team who has imprinted your knowledge on to so many.”
“Working with Bill was such a privilege a few years ago. A real gentleman. Sincere condolences to his family and also his workmates.”
“Thank you, Bill for 40 years of caring and looking after communities and our environment.”
“So, so, very sad. Genuine, kind, family-orientated, capable and caring. Billy helped so many people both in the community and his vocation. Tragic loss.”
“R.I.P mate, thoughts are with Carol and the kids and all the family, very sad day.”
Bill Slade was killed while on active duty in East Gippsland on Saturday, January 11, 2020.
It has been reported that he was killed by a falling tree while fighting fires in the Anglers Rest area, north west of Omeo.
Parks Victoria issued the following statement on Sunday:
“Parks Victoria is deeply saddened by the death of a Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMV) firefighter and Parks Victoria staff member in active duty in East Gippsland on 11 January 2020, Bill Slade.
“Bill was involved in an incident while working on a fire in the Omeo area which resulted in his tragic death.”
Parks Victoria CEO Matthew Jackson advises Bill Slade was a Parks Victoria employee with extensive experience in firefighting, a respected colleague and well-regarded member of the Wonthaggi community.
“Immediate steps have been taken to support Parks Victoria employees, including immediate counselling support to fellow emergency management personnel.
“A much-loved colleague, friend and member of the Wonthaggi community Bill Slade will be sorely missed by Parks Victoria, and our thoughts are with his family, his wife Carol and children Ethan and Steph, his colleagues within South Gippsland, along with his community at this deeply tragic time,” Parks Victoria CEO Matthew Jackson said.
“Bill contributed over 40 years to firefighting and caring for National Parks in South Gippsland, and I pay tribute to his incredible service in land management and fire management over many years – and acknowledge the profound loss many in the community will be feeling today and in coming days.”
“We are committed to supporting our teams in South and East Gippsland at this difficult time and have arranged counselling and additional support to our team members who have been fighting fires and working in Incident Control Centres in East Gippsland over several weeks.”
“Parks Victoria, as a partner in the firefighting efforts with Forest Fire Management Victoria, is committed to the safety of our team. We are doing everything we can to keep our teams safe during this unprecedented fire season.”
Bill was an active member of the local community, at the Kilcunda-Bass Football Club and other community groups.
He is survived by his wife Carol and children Ethan and Steph.
Bill Slade, above, a highly experienced firefighter and Parks Victoria staff member from Bass was killed last Saturday fighting fires in East Gippsland.