The bushfires have burnt more than a million hectares so far in Victoria and New South Wales.

Local bushfire preparation efforts continue

January 9, 2020 BY

THE bushfires devastating eastern Victoria and New South Wales have thankfully not appeared in the Geelong region, but authorities are warning people not to be complacent.

There have been a handful of fires in the Otways recently, but all have been small and brought under control quickly.

As part of the ongoing efforts towards improving preparation and awareness, the CFA is running bushfire planning workshops in Fairhaven today (Thursday, January 9) and Apollo Bay on
January 18.

At the small group sessions, participants will use local knowledge to prepare for a range of fire scenarios; receive practical, hands-on guidance from CFA to help them start, improve or review their fire plan.

“If you are caught in a bushfire it will be noisy, smoky, hot and extremely stressful,” organisers said. “A well-thought-out plan can make all
the difference.”

Bushfire planning workshops were previously held in Aireys Inlet and Lorne in December.

On January 3, CFA chief officer Steve Warrington said the bushfire crisis had resulted in “unprecedented scenes along the far east regions of Gippsland and in north-east high country”.

He warned that such scenes could be repeated in Victoria’s west and south-west.

“While the focus of media reporting has been on the east and north-east of our state, we cannot forget that there are also fires in the west and south-west of the state, where conditions are extremely dry and the combination of strong winds and dry lightning with the change tonight could create similarly extreme firefighting conditions.

“As I have said, repeatedly, this will be a marathon, with days of sprinting, but we are only four weeks into summer and there is a long season ahead for all of us.”

The state and federal governments have also massively ramped up their efforts in response to the fires, which to date have burnt out more than a million hectares and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced earlier this week that his government had created a new agency, Bushfire Recovery Victoria, dedicated to bushfire recovery; and had also made a $2 million donation to its new Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

Federally, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his government will put at least $2 billion over the next two years into the new National Bushfire Recovery Agency, has called up as many as 3,000 personnel from the Australian Defence Force Reserve, and committed $20 million to lease four extra waterbombing aircraft.

Clear and maintain gutter of twigs, leave and rubbish
Move flammable items like woodpiles, dead leaves and fuels away from your home
Keep grass areas well trimmed and watered – grass should be no more than 10cm high
Remove or trim shrubs and overhanging tree branches – there should be no shrubs taller than one metre next to or below windows
What is your trigger to enact your plan?
How will you get your emergency warnings and updates?
Who is likely to be at the house on weekdays?
Who is likely to be at the house on weekends and holidays?
Where will you go?
What will you do with your pets/livestock?
How will your travel there?
What are your alternative routes out of the area?
Protective clothing such as long sleeved clothing made from natural fibres
Food and water
Woollen blanket
Medications and toiletries
Change of clothes
Identification papers (ie. photo ID, passport, insurance policies etc.)
First aid kit
Pet food, water and bedding if needed