News & Media

Millgrove fire refuge opens for summer

The Millgrove community fire refuge has been officially opened and is available for use this summer.

On Sunday 13 December 2015, Minister for Emergency Services Jane Garrett opened the refuge, which also operates as Wesburn-Millgrove's fire station.

Community fire refuges are purpose-built shelters that have been built or modified to withstand a bushfire. They are a place of last resort if you cannot safely leave the area.

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said expanding the bushfire survival shelter options available to the community was a recommendation of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission.

“Refuges are important in isolated areas where the safest option, leaving early, may not be practical – they will not be suitable for all communities, but are useful in remote areas where access and egress is difficult,” he said.

“Refuges will only be activated when fire is threatening a community and should only be used as a last resort when other plans have failed.”

This is the fourth community fire refuge be built in Victoria, with other refuges at Ferny Creek and East Warburton (which both operate as schools) and Blackwood, which is also a combined fire station and refuge. A fifth refuge is being planned for Lavers Hill and will be available for the 2016-17 summer.

Blackwood – Australia’s first co-located community fire refuge and CFA fire station – was recently presented with two building innovation awards through the Bushfire Building Council of Australia.

Mr Lapsley said the planning and building of community fire refuges was a collaborative effort between government, agencies, business and community and relied heavily on local knowledge and input.

“Victoria is a world leader in the development of community fire refuges, benefiting not only the state but also other high bushfire risk communities in Australia and around the world,” he said.

“I congratulate the local community, Wesburn-Millgrove Fire Brigade and wider CFA, Yarra Ranges Council and all those who have played a part in bringing this refuge and fire station into realisation.”

The $1.6 million facility includes a three-bay fire station, boasting improved facilities such as more space and better security for trucks and other operational equipment, more storage and upgraded training, meeting, kitchen and administration areas.

It houses four vehicles: the permanent Hino 2.4C tanker, Landcruiser slip-on, Ford Ranger FCV and tanker 9 on loan for the summer, plus a trailer with a quick fill pump.

For more information about the Millgrove Community Fire Refuge click here

Last Updated: 14 December 2015