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Update from Trevor Owen, Deputy Chief Officer, South East Region

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If all indicators are correct, there will be an average, rather than early, start to this year’s fire season. 

Update from Trevor Owen, Deputy Chief Officer, South East Region

There’s no doubt this fire season will be different and will throw new challenges at us all, but it is still important that we focus on preparing ourselves and put the community at the centre of everything we do.

The Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook indicates Victoria will have a “normal” fire season in 2020-21.

This year there is a lower risk of long campaign fires in the Eastern Ranges due to above-average rainfall during winter and early spring. However, drier-than-average areas in the West and North West will see the season underway in mid-October and will still require a quick response to fast-moving grass fires.

Above median rainfall is forecast across Victoria during spring, which could result in greater crops and yield but also increased potential fuels if a fire were to start. All Victorians are counting on our sector to again work together to keep our communities safe.

Delivery of the usual community engagement activities will not be possible this year due to COVID-19. But it is still vital for us to be proactive in encouraging community members to get themselves and their homes fire ready. Our members are fantastic at innovation and I’d encourage you to find new ways to engage with your community. Online platforms such as Facebook to target your followers with a range of advice and materials can be a great starting point 

South East Region has developed a Fire Safety Outreach Program, providing individual community members with one-on-one preparation advice over the phone or using video conferencing. 

This year Fire Action Week is officially starting on 19 October and has been adapted to support brigades deliver fire planning and preparation to the community in line with the government’s current restrictions. More information around the week will be communicated soon, so keep an eye out.

Most importantly, prepare yourself. This year has been a very different one, how’s your health and fitness? Your wellbeing?

Take the time to check in on yourself and as this month is Mental Health Month I encourage you to have a look at the services available from our wellbeing team.

Your life, the lives of your fellow brigade members, and those of community members depend on you being able to work under extreme conditions. Look after yourself so you can look after others.

CFA’s fire managers and fire behaviour analysts will be closely monitoring the conditions over the coming months. Forecasting seasonal activity means things may change but for now focus on preparing yourself and your community for the fire season ahead.

It’s our job to help Victorians understand bushfire safety, preparedness and what they can and can’t do when fire restrictions are in place. I wish you all the best for this season and look forward to working together, stay safe.