News & Media

Incidents - Bushfire

2014-2015 Bushfire Outlook, Targeting Most at Risk

Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook 2014-15 The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Hazard Note, released on 2 September 2014, states that a preliminary investigation of factors affecting the fire season outlook for 2014-15 point to an above normal season in many areas of central, north and western Victoria. Key factors are an overall rainfall deficit coupled with the potential for an earlier start to the season. Areas with long-term rainfall deficits run from the west of Melbourne to the central Wimmera and also north through central Victoria into the Mallee. Another band exists extending from the north east of Melbourne to the northern slopes of the great Dividing Range. Shorter term deficits are emerging in a broad band across much of the State’s north, extending south to the northern rises of the great Dividing Range. Similar deficits are emerging in coastal and Southern Victoria, though the exact pattern in these areas is not yet clear. Climatic signals indicate a likely return to warm conditions in spring. There is no strong signal on rainfall, and agencies will be closely monitoring rainfall amounts across the State. Widespread above average rainfall conditions are not likely, but even in the event they occur, Victoria may still expect, given the antecedent conditions, a fire season slightly more active than 2013-14.   Targeting those Most at Risk of Bushfire or Grassfire Picture the many communities you drive through and reflect on what you see as you come to their outskirts. Many of you will have an image of older houses, in many cases they have significant grasslands and/or bush to the edge of the property. Some of you will have an image of new homes on larger blocks nestled amongst the trees lived in by people new to the area. You’ve got the picture - idyllic Australian settings for the most part until, as we know, fire threat emerges from that grassland or bush. We know this idyllic setting can quickly become life threatening for the unaware or ill prepared over summer. 80% of losses to lives and property are lost within 100 metres of the bush according to CSIRO analysis. The very setting we were describing just moments ago. According to CFA research, only 24.6% of Victorians believe they are well prepared for bushfire and 69% will wait until fire threatens before deciding what action to take. So bringing this together we have people living in houses, often not built to bushfire standards, living in close proximity to the hazard. People who are often undecided or under prepared or both for a significant bushfire event – not an ideal scenario for fire services. Given what we know there are some things you can do to help. It’s time to act differently. Firstly, if they won’t come to us, we as CFA can go to them. Pointing out the hazard threatening them, encouraging them to plan to leave early and giving them some helpful tips to prepare their home can have a really positive effect. With this in mind, CFA has developed the Property Advice Visit Service. This program provides target area mapping, materials, training and ongoing support to CFA members who want to connect with their at-risk communities. For the brigade: an increase in local knowledge (e.g. Water points, access issues, vulnerable residents), opportunities to recruit, increase local brigade profile and a greater chance locals  will make informed decisions when fire occurs. For the community: reaching people with limited or no contact with us, who may never have thought about the risk on their doorstep.  Giving them simple advice which may save lives. By taking contact details, preferably their email address, we will follow them up them to keep them focussed on their bushfire preparedness.  If you want to become involved talk it over with your brigade and get in touch with Andrew Thomas to register your interest at a.thomas@cfa.vic.gov.au or on 03 9262 8559. We have the maps, we have the material to give to our community and we have the training ready to go.   

 11.14 AM 2 September, 2014

Latest on Canadian wildfires

Firefighters in Canada are dealing with some of the worst forest fires in recent memory, with almost 200,000 hectares of land having been burnt in British Columbia.

 10.57 AM 12 August, 2014

Canada deployment underway

Eleven CFA members are on their way to Canada to provide support to firefighters in British Columbia as they tackle major bushfires.

 2.39 PM 10 August, 2014

CFA fireys to help Canada

More than 50 Victorian firefighters and emergency service experts will spearhead an Australian contingent travelling to British Columbia to help combat fires during the northern hemisphere summer.

 11.26 AM 8 August, 2014

Robots for fireground hot spots

After winning the Australian National Robotics Competition in Sydney in December 2013, a team of students from Glendal Primary and Berwick Lodge schools students in District 13 are competing in Pamplona, Spain, this month.

 11.55 AM 15 May, 2014

Peat fire at Morwell

UPDATE FRI 4.30pm: A helicopter with FLIR (forward looking infra red) cameras has been flying over the Morwell Wetlands this afternoon and has detected no further surface heat in the area.

 12.04 PM 14 May, 2014

Narrawong bushfire

LISTEN: Incident Controller Mark Gunning talks to ABC about the bushfire in Narrawong, which has burnt out 1550 hectares.

 4.12 PM 2 April, 2014

Mickleham grass fire

UPDATE 3:30PM: The grass fire at Mickleham has been controlled. The cause is believed to be from a tractor slashing vegetation.

 3.06 PM 31 March, 2014

Taking on the Gisborne fire

“Water! We’re out of water,” yells crew leader Anne Perkins on the Newstead brigade tanker's two-way radio. 

 9.21 AM 19 March, 2014

Firefighter injured near Rushworth

A CFA volunteer has been injured while fighting a grassfire at Moora, near Rushworth overnight (Friday, 14 March).

 6.32 AM 14 March, 2014

Hot act at music festival

Neerim South and Noojee fire brigades responded to a report of a “grass fire spreading” in McKenzie Rd, Neerim East at 1:47pm on Sunday 9th March.

 4.53 PM 13 March, 2014

Campfire warning over long weekend

DEPI Chief Fire Officer Alan Goodwin has warned that small campfires can quickly turn into large bushfires even in the moderate weather conditions forecast for this long weekend.

 1.40 PM 7 March, 2014

Hazelwood mine fire update 6/3/14

Incident Controller for the Hazelwood mine fire, John Haynes said while he is feeling confident the fire will soon be contained, there are some testing days ahead.

 3.47 PM 6 March, 2014

Timbarra-Gil Groggin update 6/3/14

This will be the final newsletter covering the fires being focused on by the Bairnsdale Incident Control Centre. This newsletter will be reinstated if required.

 11.34 AM 6 March, 2014

ST 0981 in Gelantipy.

ST 0981 was added to the long list of teams working on the east Gippsland fires in February of this year, the District 9 team of heavy and medium tankers were tasked to work north of Buchan supporting DEPI crews in a burn to the West of the Snowy River

 5.52 PM 21 February, 2014

Kyneton grassfire video

Kyneton brigade has posted a video showing a first-hand view of their efforts to control grassfires on 9 & 10 February.

 11.47 AM 17 February, 2014

Cindy - out of the ashes

This little lady was found by CFA firefighters last Thursday - she’s still a pouch baby but she was found on her own with badly burnt feet following the Mickleham fire.

 8.27 AM 17 February, 2014

Mine fire air quality audio

Elizabeth Radcliffe from the EPA spoke at a press conference this morning on air quality impacts from the Latrobe Valley open cut mine fires.

 2.38 PM 14 February, 2014

All clear in the Mallee

The final all clear has been issued this week for the Mallee fires that started nearly a month ago.

 11.35 AM 14 February, 2014

East Gippsland Fire Update 12/2/14

Community Information Newsletter number 15 Far East Gippsland Fires   East Gippsland Fire Danger Rating: HIGH   Everyone should stay aware of their local weather conditions and have a bushfire survival plan ready. Existing fires are still being controlled and conditions could change quickly.

 1.00 PM 12 February, 2014