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Update from ACO South East Region, Trevor Owen

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Under challenging conditions fire and emergency services came together on Friday 4 January with the community to protect life and property. 

Update from ACO South East Region, Trevor Owen

Rosedale fire. Photo courtesy Maffra CFA

With temperatures above 40 across the state and a total fire ban in place our brigades stood ready to respond.

We had 75 strike teams and 69 aircraft on standby, and more than 370 multi-agency personnel staffing Incident Control Centres, Regional Control Centres and the State Control Centre.

As expected, underlying dryness, heavy fuels, high temperatures, and strong and erratic wind conditions led to rapid and intense fire development. More than 220 fires occurred in 24 hours, with the most significant being at Rosedale, Strathbogie, and Tallangatta.

While the fires in Strathbogie and Tallangatta were contained early into the weekend, the firefight near Rosedale in Gippsland continued into this week as crews worked to contain the fire’s perimeter. The fire was deemed contained on Wednesday (9 January).  

The Rosedale fire started just before 1pm on Friday but it was the south-westerly wind change later in the evening that led to the significant increase in fire activity.

At the height of the fire there were 110 CFA personnel in 30 tankers and a number of command vehicles, various plant and machinery and 13 aircraft working day and night to contain the blaze.

I had the opportunity to visit the ICC, Gippsland Regional Control Centre, fireground, staging areas, and the District 10 headquarters over the weekend to witness the tremendous effort on the ground and in the air to extinguish and contain the fire.

There’s a lot of work still to come and we expect that it could be a week at least before the fire is deemed under control.

I couldn’t be more impressed and proud of our people as well as personnel from FFMV, EMV, SES, VicPol and Ambulance Victoria: fire and emergency services working as one to ensure the protection of life and property. The collaboration with and from Hancock Victoria Plantations has also been outstanding.

Your courage and willingness to give up your time to support your fellow volunteers and your communities is phenomenal.

With the combined effort of all involved there has been minimal damage to assets and most importantly no injuries to members of the community or our fire and emergency services.

Well done to all involved during what has been a very difficult firefighting operation.

Keep up the good work and stay safe.  

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Your physical and mental wellbeing continues to be our number one priority, especially during the summer fire season.

Please reach out for help from the CFA Wellbeing Support Line – 1800 959 232 – if you are not okay, or if you notice a change in someone you know.

The CFA Wellbeing Support Line provides access free, confidential and 24/7 support

These services are available to all CFA staff, volunteers and immediate family members. 

The support services include the Member Assistance Program with psychologists and counsellors, Traditional and Career Firefighter Peer Support Program, Chaplaincy Program, Bullying and Harassment Hotline, Centres Against Sexual Assault as well as the CFA Organisational Wellbeing team services.

To view the complete range of services visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/wellbeing