The state government said union claims suggesting parks and wildlife staff have been reduced are false.
Premier Will Hodgman said since the Liberals came into government in 2014 there has been an increase of 29.89 full time equivalent staff across the Parks and Wildlife Service.
“It is disappointing, but sadly not surprising, that unions have chosen to criticice and politicise the response to a significant bushfire and extreme weather event,” Mr Hodgman said.
The union criticism follows the response to control the Gell River fire which has burned through over 20,000 hectares in the World Heritage Area.
Community and Public Sector Union general secretary Tom Lynch said concerns were raised about the number of staff in Parks and Wildlife and the number of staff available to respond to the critical incident at Gell River.
“Rangers and officers get pulled out of national parks to form incident response teams,” Mr Lynch said.
“The response has been fantastic with the limited resources available,” he said.
Mr Lynch said the Liberals promised during the election last year to replace 15 of the 30 full time parks roles cut during 2014, but it is unclear if all these vacancies have been filled.
Mr Lynch said the Parks and Wildlife Service is unable to keep up with the massive increase in tourism to parks.
“We simply need more staff,” he said.
Parks and Wildlife Service deputy incident controller Nic Deka said it is challenging to have staff pulled away to fires during the peak visitor season.
“We are prepared for these sorts of incidents but when we start to have campaign fires such as this it starts to take a toll,” Mr Deka said.
“It obviously takes staff away from key field centers. There’s other work that simply doesn’t occur when we are away fighting fires because that is clearly the priority,” he said.
Attorney-General Elise Archer said the parks service has more staff now than ever.
“There has been significant investment there by our government in these areas,” Ms Archer said.
The state government said it has invested $4 million in bushfire management in the wilderness area.
“This fire season, 19 seasonal fire crew were employed to add to the PWS dedicated fire crew and the 130 PWS fire-fit staff who have fire management as a part of their duties,” Mr Hodgman said.