News & Media

Incident Controller Report Hazelwood - Monday 3 March

By: Bob Barry

  11.00 AM 4 March, 2014

Views: 5106

Update for emergency services on Hazelwood open cut mine fire
I’ve decided today is our “Red Balloon Day” – a day that I want to take the opportunity to say thank you to all the fireys from CFA, MFB. Queensland and NSW fire services who have been working tirelessly to tackle this fire.
The amazing amount of work that has been put into getting this fire out became evident to me when I flew over the fire on Saturday before I started back as Incident Controller on Sunday and again today.
Since the last time I was down here the amount of fire activity has decreased significantly with the northern batters almost secured.
It shows that what we are doing using foam and water is working and it is clearly evident we are winning the battle.
Although the fireys are the ones working down in the mine in tough conditions, there are also a lot of other people working around the clock supporting the fire strategy and generally making sure everything is ticking along.
I want to take the opportunity to also thank the District Control Centres across the state, the Regional Control Centres, and the State Control Centre for support in resourcing this huge event.
A big thank you also goes to the local crews for their ongoing assistance and effort in providing additional support to the active fight and preparedness for spike days.
Last Sunday the 2nd March, CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson and Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley attended a community meeting at Kernot Hall in Morwell where over 1000 people attended.
The amount of support from the Morwell community for the firefighters was overwhelming. They were also very appreciative of what the police have been doing. I know that it is tough at times, but it is good to know the community is behind us.
I also want to acknowledge the significant and valued support of the local district, District 10, in particular the Regional Director Mark Potter and Operations Manager Darryl Hunter and their staff. 
We appreciate the many hours they have put in and acknowledge their region has been involved in fire for several months with a number of bushfire as well, and that hasn’t stopped them from going the extra mile.
Thank you to my team at the Incident Control Centre. We are all working hard on what is a difficult, complex fire but it is also a rare opportunity to be involved in the management of an incident of this magnitude.
This is one of the most complex incidents in the CFA’s history, but it is also a really good opportunity to learn and I urge you that if the opportunity arises to come here for the incident experience alone.
There has been an outstanding effort by the aircraft officers in the ICC, the Helitak pilots and air observers have been instrumental in the success of suppression activities to date. And importantly there has been a great amount of community engagement work done, getting accurate and timely information to the community of Morwell and Victoria.
I want to acknowledge first-hand the work carried out by all agencies involved, in particular the relationship developed between DEPI, CFA, MFB and the interstate agencies. The Fire Services Commissioner’s motto for the year “we work as one” has really rung true.

Bob Barry
Incident Controller

Last Updated: 10 December 2015