News & Media

Weather Forecast, District 27, Victorian Bushfire Handbook, Pre Season Update

By: Euan Ferguson

Category: Operational Information

  2.44 PM 23 September, 2014

Location: General

Views: 3042

Weather Forecast

The weather briefing from the Bureau of Meteorology as part of the Commonwealth EMA Annual Preparedness Briefing on 12 September provided the following information in relation to Victoria:


  • 24 month rainfall deficit – Mallee and Wimmera;
  • temperature – strong trend for warmer temperatures both day and night throughout Spring;
  • 50% chance of an el nino in 2014; and
  • bushfire potential remains elevated in central Victoria, north west Victoria, and parts of the north east of the state.  

District 27 Update

Last Wednesday evening I was fortunate to attend a really positive briefing with brigade staff and volunteers to discuss the new CFA “District 27” which will cover the area of Latrobe City Council. This was the first part of our consultation process and the discussion informed us of a number of key issues in establishing the new district. The feedback we got from members will help inform the allocation of resources for District 27, the development of response plans and how we integrate with industry operators. 

I began the session with some key updates on the new district so far:

  • District 27 will be implemented over three phases and will be fully established by April 2015;
  • the establishment of the new district will not disrupt operations for the upcoming fire season – districts 9 and 10 will continue to coordinate Command and Control arrangements during this period;
  • in the next month a Project Manager will be appointed to manage the implementation of the new district and an Operations Manager appointed by 1 December 2014 to start action on the ground;
  • consultation will continue with local brigades, local community and industry throughout the process

Members identified a number of advantages and opportunities presented by the new district, including:

  • district operations staff being closer to Brigades and Groups;
  • enhanced health and safety monitoring;
  • increased capabilities and capacity to deal with mine fires; and
  • an opportunity to build better relationships with the power industry and coal mine staff.

They also raised some key issues to consider in the establishment of the new district, including:

  • clear consideration of the resources required to achieve specialized training in this area;
  • the need to carefully assess the risk of resourcing impacts on other nearby districts; and
  • the need for regular communication with members on improvements as they happen.

I will now commence further dialogue with volunteers, career staff, GDF Suez and other operators of critical infrastructure in the Latrobe Valley around the formation of the new district. A communication and engagement strategy is being developed by the communication team at CFA HQ to ensure that members are aware of and involved in the process. We encourage members to continue to send issues, suggestions, challenges and other relevant information relating to the establishment of District 27 to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are now also calling for nominations for the Project Steering Committee and Working Group. Members are encouraged to send nominations to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

I will return to the Latrobe Valley, tentatively scheduled for week commencing 6 October, to further address the questions and issues raised during Wednesday’s session. Once scheduled the date, time and location details of this briefing will be made available to all members ASAP.

Victorian Bushfire Handbook

Edition 4 of the Victorian Bushfire Handbook has just been released and summarises the operational management structures and systems used by CFA, DEPI and MFB for bushfire preparedness, readiness and response in Victoria. It reinforces agency specific procedures and common doctrine. The purpose of the handbook is to provide emergency services personnel with a convenient ready reference to the key fire agency structures and systems of work. The handbook is targeted at members who have key incident management and leadership roles. Hard copies of the Handbooks are being distributed at Regional Pre Season Briefings. The Handbook will soon be available on EMV’s website and CFA Online.

Pre Season Update

The Pre-season Update is a short magazine-style publication that describes this year’s major changes that are relevant to fireground personnel.  This season, Victoria’s focus is on working together as emergency management agencies and with our communities.  

The Pre-season Update includes a range of new or revised information including: Victoria’s new emergency management arrangements; reinforces the importance of firefighter safety including hydration, and information on hazardous trees; Integrated Initial Attack; transfer of control triggers;  resource requesting;  aircraft and aviation which includes new information about the DEPI Aviation Services Unit and aviation procedures; traffic management points; Public Information; Automated Fire Danger Rating Signs;  and Evacuation – including a summary of the Halls Gap Evacuation Case Study.

Members should read this material and discuss the relevant issues with their brigade or work location ahead of the coming fire danger period.  It is important to remember that our focus remains on safety, of both firefighters and the public. The Pre-season Update is distributed by mail to CFA members within the Spring Edition of Brigade Magazine and as required within other agencies. It can also can be found on CFA Online under Fire & Emergencies > Manuals > Fire & Emergency Management Updates > Current Updates.


Last Updated: 10 December 2015