News & Media

Carlisle River fuel reduction burn

By: Ian morrison

Category: Community Safety

  1.37 PM 26 April, 2013

Location: District 6 News

Views: 2389

On Saturday 20 April 2013 local brigades and Wannon Water completed a 10-hectare fuel reduction burn around the North Gellibrand Pipe Line Pumping Station.

Carlisle River township is in the top 52 high bushfire risk towns in Victoria and is nestled in the western part of the Otways. The North Gellibrand Pipe Line Pumping Station is located on the north-west side of town, making this site very vulnerable for fires approaching from that part of the Otway Forest.

The North Gellibrand Pipe Line Pumping Station is the highest risk of infrastructure within the Wannon Water network as this pumping station supplies water to many towns including Lismore, Derrinallum, Terang, Mortlake and Warrnambool.

In June 2012, Wannon Water asked CFA if they were prepared to conduct a fuel reduction burn around this site in the coming autumn of 2013. Ash Burns approached the local VMO Ian Morrison to discuss the option of a burn. At the first site meeting was the Colac Otway Shire Municipal Fire Prevention Officer, representatives from Wannon water and CFA.

The first burn was approximately 10 hectares in size around the pumping station with about of 182 hectares of adjoining forest.  It's believed that there has been no major fire through this area since about 1939, so the fuel load was extreme with slopes of upwards of 27 degrees around the site.

There  were quite a number of value checks to completed during the planning stage, which was shared between Wannon Water and CFA, such Flora and Fauna, Environmental Protection
Biodiversity Conservation Values (which were completed by the DSE Colac Bio-diversity department) and CFA Biodiversity Officer Justine Leahy.

Wannon Water completed the Culture Heritage survey with Aboriginal Affairs Victoria and Power Cor. Colac Otway Shire coordinated contacting the neighbouring landowners about the upcoming burn.

Brigades that assisted with the burn on Saturday 20 April were Carlisle River, Gellibrand and Barongarook. Also helping were Roger Strickland and David Stewart from CFA HQs and a unit from Wannon Water. This burn took around seven hours and the weather was on our side. The local brigade patrolled the burn on Sunday and it was then handed back to Wannon Water to patrol until it was completely safe.

Ash Burns from Wannon Water cooked a BBQ lunch and dinner for the troops, which was appreciated by all.

This is the second joint burn that we have conducted together. Last season we completed stage one of the Cobden Water Treatment Plant with the second stage to be burnt in the 2013-14 season.

For the remaining 182 hectares of private forest, we are currently talking with Wannon Water, property owners, Colac Otway Shire and DSE to have this included into the DSE FOPs in coming years as part of the overall burn program around this area.

This will be a joint integrated approach by all agencies and private land owners, which will greatly benefit the community of Carlisle River as well as the key critical infrastructure of the North Gellibrand Pipe Line Pumping Station.

The overall result of the burn was very satisfactory and it meets all the objectives that were set out to be achieved. Wannon Water is very happy with the result and this ensures a long working relationship for further burns on their properties in the south-west.

Once again this has been another joint effort with several agencies to make this a great success.

Thank you all and a job well done.           

Last Updated: 26 April 2013