Residents’ feedback important to fire breaks

November 22, 2021 BY

Fire breaks are used to support fire crews and assist fire management across the Otways.

THE creation or upgrade of strategic fuel breaks to reduce bushfire risk around Aireys Inlet, Wye River, Fairhaven, Wensleydale and Boonah are underway.

Public consultation has started, and local residents and the wider community can share their views on the proposed firebreak work online until November 29.

New breaks around Lorne, Aireys Inlet, Anglesea, and along sections of the Great Ocean Road were included in the first stage of the firebreak project and are now complete.

The next stage will see new or upgraded breaks at Ironbark Spur Track, Seaview Road, Gentle Annie Track, Jeep Track, Jamieson Track, Normans Track and Hammonds Gum Flats.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning also intends to extend the program in the future to other areas in the Otways including Forrest and Gellibrand.

Strategic fuel breaks are generally 20 to 40 metres wide and are a corridor of land where vegetation is permanently reduced to assist fire management.

DELWP says the fire breaks reduce fuel loads close to towns and assets, improve safety and access for firefighters, and support planned and back burning.

The proposed areas are selected to help firefighters protect private property, significant transport routes, and community assets like water and power supplies.

Bushfire modelling, input from other emergency services, and local knowledge contributes to determining the exact location of the breaks, with some crossing private and public land.

Once created, DELWP maintain the breaks and over time the aim is that they “resemble open heathlands or grassy woodlands with some larger trees retained”.

DELWP carries our environmental and cultural assessments to manage any impacts on animals, important native vegetation, and cultural sites.

The DELWP project team is now encouraging local community feedback on each area of interest to assist with ongoing management of the fire breaks, with a consultation report published in December.

Visit engage.vic.gov.au/strategic-fuel-breaks/otways-break-upgrades complete the survey.

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