CFA fire action warning

Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville (Louisa Jones) 218712_06

By Luke Voogt

A rural Little River property was the launch site for CFA’s 2020 Fire Action Week on Monday with authorities preparing for a grassfire-dominated summer.

Significant fires have ravaged Little River and nearby Lara over past decades.

In 2018 a grassfire burned through 1260 hectares at Little River before about 50 fire trucks and seven aircraft brought it under control.

In 1969 fires killed 23 people, including 17 motorists trapped on the Princes Freeway, and burned a total of 250,000 hectares.

On Monday CFA acting chief officer Garry Cook warned this year’s bushfire season could be a bad one, especially on hot and windy days.

An above average rain forecast from now to December, amid a La Niña event, will likely increase grass growth providing more fuel for fires.

Mr Cook urged property owners to begin preparations for the fire season, revise their plans to leave or stay, and to not be complacent.

“Fire Action Week is a great reminder to Victorians to get a better understanding of their fire risk and what to do about it,” he said.

“Plan for all situations by talking to your family and friends about your triggers to leave, where you’ll go and how you’ll get there.”

Owners should prepare their property to reduce the chance of damage during a fire, even if they plan to leave early, Mr Cook said.

“Keep trees, overhanging branches and shrubs to a minimum near your home, and keep grass shorter than 10cm.”

“Move your winter wood pile away from the house and clear debris from gutters.

“A big clean-up before the fire season can make a huge difference to the safety and survival of your home in a bushfire.”

The owner of the Minns Road property, Kim Bruning, spoke about how she had prepared for fire seasons in years past while living at Little River.

Ms Bruning demonstrated how to conduct a small, safe burn-off when weather conditions permitted.

Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville and Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp also joined the launch.

“Our emergency management services have started their preparations, so now it’s up to all Victorians to understand their local fire risk and develop a fire plan,” Minister Neville said.

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