News & Media

Southern Metro response to a challenging season

By: Peter Schmidt

  11.00 AM 6 March, 2013

Views: 2147

The 2012-13 summer fire season has been a very challenging one for CFA across the state. The Southern Metro response has been one of great diversity due to a rapid onset of fires in early January at a local level. There were an above average number of incidents that challenged crews. High and dry fuel loads led to rapid fire development, often in and around built-up areas. Great work by crews saw virtually no built property loss.

In addition to our local activity that demanded resourcing at all levels, there were constant requests for us to support other parts of Victoria, such as Corryong, Dargo, Donnybrook, Grampians, Harrietville, Heyfield, Heywood, Hotham, Swifts Creek, Thorpdale and Traralgon, and interstate to Tasmania, and Tarcutta and Shoal Haven in NSW. In all, 1,939 SMR people committed to strike teams, incident management teams and specialist deployments outside the region that equated to 4,100 days to the end of February. This is an incredible investment of time that our people provided to support those in sometimes very distant communities.

We must not lose sight of the dedicated efforts of our brigades, groups, group duty officers, district control centre and regional control centre personnel, resource unit volunteers and staff together with rostered duty officers who managed and supported this very significant logistical effort.

A big thank you to you all for such a dedicated and professional effort.

During the fire season activity the region was also honoured to host the Ash Wednesday 30th Anniversary Memorial Service at St John's Anglican Church in Upper Beaconsfield. The service was attended by approximately 600 people including the Governor, Premier, CFA Board and executives and many other distinguished guests. None more important, however, than the many family members of firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice during those fires and the large number of veterans from the time.

It was also a good time to reflect on the learnings of Ash Wednesday and just how far CFA has evolved and improved since that tragic event.

My congratulations and thanks to all involved in organising and supporting the service on the day, including the Upper Beaconsfield brigade, brigade captains from Nar Nar Goon, Narre Warren, Panton Hills and Upper Beaconsfield who completed readings, District 8 Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria Council, staff from our headquarters and region, and neighbouring brigades. The moving service was a great tribute to all involved in those fires and it has no doubt enabled many directly impacted by the events of Ash Wednesday to move on at least a little more.

Last Updated: 10 December 2015