Briagolong residents celebrate their graduation from the Safer Together CBBM program
The Briagolong community recently graduated from the Community Based Bushfire Management (Safer Together) program, after nearly four years of working together with individuals, groups and land and fire managers to reduce bushfire risk and increase community resilience.
In August 2018 a small group of residents came together to form the ‘Fire in the Foothills’ group, with the support of a DELWP-based facilitator. Over the course of a few years, this group had many discussions about Briagolong’s bushfire risk, the community’s strengths and needs, and creative ideas to get people talking, thinking and acting on their own personal emergency preparedness.
The group, which included members of the many Briag community groups such as CFA, Hall Committee, Community House, and Film Festival Committee, put on an expo day, a short film festival, a house number project and an educational session on insurance for disasters.
More recently throughout the COVID-19 period, the CBBM project (facilitated through local government) also worked closely with the Lions Club to host a community trivia night which included emergency/bushfire-related questions and activities, as well as with the Quarry Reserve Committee to discuss the campground’s bushfire risk and possible fuel reduction strategies with CFA’s Vegetation Management Officer.
We also worked with CFA to organise a Stay and Defend workshop for the beginning of the 2021-22 fire season in response to a survey which highlighted that many people were considering staying during bushfires. A summary of all activities, including the short films submitted for the film festival, can be found here.
In light of all the activities done and goals achieved over the course of almost four years, the Briagolong community has strengthened its connectivity among residents, with agency partners and with the ongoing activities happening in the area, such as the Joint Fuel Management Plan.
Given this connectivity, as well as the strong leadership and self-sufficiency of the community, the decision was made by a range of stakeholders to start wrapping up the program in Briagolong, but to continue supporting their initiatives on an as-needs basis.
After much collaboration with agency partners and on-ground scoping, Seaton and Glenmaggie have been included in the CBBM program as Briagolong’s replacement. Key factors influencing this decision were not only their bushfire risk and fire history, but also the communities’ interest and capacity in working with a facilitator to explore key contemporary issues in their landscape and social environment.
Since the 2013 Aberfeldy fires, many new residents have moved into Seaton, and many out-of-town folk call Glenmaggie their second home over the summer period, making it an interesting region in which to engage with locals and visitors to enhance resilience.
Thank you to CFA for all your support with Briagolong over the years, and we look forward to the important collaboration to come with Seaton and Glenmaggie.
- Briagolong residents attend a fire simulation event, organised by CFA as part of the CBBM program
- Briagolong residents undertook a house numbering project as part of the Safer Together CBBM program
- Briagolong residents hosted a trivia night as part of the Safer Together CBBM program
||Rebekah Baynard-Smith & Fiona Macken