Recently, 50 residents of the Dandenong Ranges met with fire agencies to learn about the benefits of planned burning and how they can be actively involved in reducing the risk of bushfires in their local area.
The two-hour onsite information sessions were held at Ferny Creek, Sassafras and Mount Dandenong for neighbours adjacent and close to proposed planned burns which agencies, including DELWP, Parks Victoria, CFA and Yarra Ranges Council are keen to complete within the next few months.
Residents adjacent to this year’s planned burns brought comfortable chairs to seat themselves in the bush while they learnt about their bushfire risk in the Dandenong Ranges and the planned burns that will reduce that risk.
Participants found out how and when the planned burns will be carried out, what to expect during the planned burns and how they can stay informed about the timing of the planned burns by registering with DELWP’s Planned Burn Notification system: at http://delwp.vic.gov.au/fire-and-emergencies/planned-burning-notifications-system
They also learnt how they can work with CFA, DELWP and Parks Victoria to reduce the impacts of planned burns on their property. CFA District 13 Community Safety Presenters and local brigade volunteers discussed what residents could do to prepare their properties for the planned burns and the fire season and the CFA services available to them such as the Property Assessment Visit Service (PAVS) and the self-assessment checklists for residents.
CFA District 13 Planned Burn Resource Coordinator Laurie Steel said “CFA members will be involved in these planned burns which will provide hands-on training opportunities for local members. CFA members take great pride inactively contributing to the reduction of bushfire risk to their local communities. There are increased efficiencies and benefits all round with everyone working together in planned burning to reducing the fire risk to a community. The joint planned burning will strengthen local partnerships and improve inter-agency operability, all of which will have flow on benefits for fire suppression in the Dandenong Ranges’ he said.
Phil Cuthbert, Community Safety Presenter for CFA said ‘Meetings like this allow residents to be members of this community safety partnership. When the agencies undertake local fuel reduction programs, it's a great opportunity for the community to further extend this work into their back yards to help create a larger area of land that is better prepared for fire.’
Dave van Bockel - Ranger in Charge, Dandenong Ranges (Parks Victoria) , said “It’s great to have these get togethers with local residents, to have a constructive discussion about bushfire risk in the area and collectively what we’re doing to reduce it.
The bushfire risk in the Dandenong Ranges exists across private property and the park, so we need to all work together if we’re to effectively reduce that risk. It’s pleasing to see community members so interested in engaging with fire and emergency services and playing an active role in keeping their community safe.