A Narrogin couple have created an interactive educational tool to boost the State’s firefighting capabilities and help preserve precious bushfire knowledge. Paul and Lynette Blechynden have registered the Bushfire Model under the banner of their small business, Blue Frog Innovations. This week, they were expected to secure council approval to push ahead with home production of the Bushfire Model at a rear shed on their Narrogin property. The Bushfire Model is a physical fire model used to demonstrate fire behaviour, suppression strategies and other tactics. Mr Blechynden, who has decades of firefighting experience, has designed and crafted a vast range of items to make the model as adaptable as possible. The main landscape is a sheet of hessian with roads, bush and rivers sewn into it. The mock fire is heavy-duty flyscreen with liquid nails attached to it, while the individual pieces are made out of pine and hand-painted. “Back in 2016 there was a chief bushfire control officer who was very keen to share his experience and he wanted to be able to do that with something that was simple, very clear and not a PowerPoint presentation,” Mr Blechynden said. “That’s where the concept started. “It’s very much hands-on — people are on their feet, people pick up pieces, moving them. “It’s a very tangible way of learning and it’s very straightforward for experienced firefighters. “The response from firefighters has been really strong, really positive because they’re able to use it to share their experience and help new firefighters learn. It can be individual lessons or they can create scenarios and work through it.” Volunteer brigades in Perth and regional WA have already started using the Bushfire Model. There are three different kits, from the standard kit with about 150 pieces to the enhanced kit with a greater focus on the rural-urban interface. Mr Blechynden said he enjoyed the challenge of crafting the individual pieces from wood, making sure they were simple but recognisable. “We’ve recently filled a very large order for the Bushfire Centre of Excellence,” Mr Blechynden said. “They originally purchased two models last year. They’ve ordered another 14 plus a whole stack of custom-made items to complement them.” The specialist items requested by the Bushfire Centre of Excellence included a range of helicopter, aerial incendiary devices, a large air tanker, and dozens of earthmoving machines. “For a centre such as the Bushfire Centre of Excellence to have that interest and not only order the models but ask us to make specialist items is great,” he said.