VICTORIA'S firefighting capability was reduced after government staff were made redundant, the Australian Workers Union claims.
Four hundred Department of Sustainability and Environment staff and 200 Department of Primary Industries staff, many with fire-fighting experience, lost their jobs last year.
AWU Victorian secretary Cesar Melham said the staffing issue had been raised with Environment Minister Ryan Smith when he toured the incident control centre at Heyfield last month.
"One of our local officials witnessed a DPI staff member break down in front of the Environment Minister and tell him they simply didn't have enough staff to fill all the roles," Mr Melham said. "(Mr) Smith said he didn't know it was that bad."
A Government spokesman said one team member at Heyfield, who was providing support services to the firefighters, raised the issue of back-up services.
"The Minister sought prompt advice and was advised that sufficient resources were in place at that site and elsewhere, consistent with the requirements of dealing with the fire incidents concerned," he said.
The Community and Public Sector Union said job cuts to the DPI and DSE led to a shortfall of experienced people available to fight the Drik Drik fire south of Dartmoor last month.
CPSU spokesman Julian Kennelly said he understood the Heywood incident control centre struggled to find experienced people for planning and logistics.
"A lot of jobs have gone out of DPI biodiversity and those were the people who used to fill these positions," he said.
Emergency Services Minister Peter Ryan said no one had raised the issue with him.
"If anyone has a concern then instead of being nameless and faceless, they are welcome to come to me," Mr Ryan said.
A DSE spokesman said staff with appropriate skills were available at all times.
"If local DSE staff aren't available for a role for reasons such as rest breaks, staff from partner agencies fill these roles," he said.