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Victorian emergency services return home from WA
The majority of the 150 Victorian emergency services personnel who have been in Western Australia assisting with firefighting efforts will return home from today.
Victorian State Response Controller Peter Rau said the personnel would fly home today as forecasts show the state will continue to experience hot temperatures and potentially stronger winds towards the middle of the week.
“The consistently hot weather expected this week will continue to dry out much of the state and the fire risk will increase over the coming days,” Mr Rau said.
“By Wednesday the fire danger is severe or very high across most of the state which poses real potential for fires in central, north-west and western Victoria where it’s already very dry.”
Victorian crews deployed to Western Australia assisted with fires which continue to burn in southern parts of WA. They made up Incident Management Teams and on-ground firefighting crews.
Mr Rau said a small contingent of people would remain in Western Australia until Tuesday.
“Victoria is leading some planning for a multi-state taskforce to be deployed to Western Australia later this week if required,” he said.
“In Victoria we are only too familiar with the threat of bushfire and our thoughts are with the Western Australian communities currently being affected by this fire.”
Last week Victoria’s Large Air Tankers (LATs) – the Hercules and the RJ – were also sent west to help with the fires.
The LATs can hold between 12,000 and 15,000 litres of water, foam or retardant and have this summer been based in Avalon. They were also deployed to South Australia in January.
The LATs are planning to return to Victoria early this week and the remainder of Victoria’s airfleet, including other large aircraft – the two orange Erickson aircranes, Delilah and Malcolm and two Sikorsky s61 helicopters – remain on standby.
Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said emergency services were well prepared for Victoria’s hot weather and urged the community to also prepare.
“This is a shared responsibility – we can provide the information and warnings but you need to make decisions about your own safety,” Mr Lapsley said.
“As we’ve just seen with the tree incident in Western Australia, the safety of our firefighters and the community is our highest priority.
“Be aware of your surroundings, don’t travel through fire-affected areas and stay alert.
“We are expecting another couple of weeks of hot weather so it is important to check the conditions and keep informed.
“Parts of the state are already dry and the hot weather over the weekend will have continued that drying cycle, including where there has been rain.”
STAY INFORMED AND BE PREPARED
- Tune in to ABC radio, commercial and designated community radio stations or Sky News TV.
- Download the FireReady App – set up ‘watch zones’ to allow for push notifications for incidents and warnings.
- Add www.emergency.vic.gov.au to your favourites list on your internet browser.
- Enter the Victorian Bushfire Information Line 1800 240 667 into your phone contacts.
- Connect with CFA Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Media contact: State Control Centre Media on 5330 3124 or 9032 3600