Collaboration at Cardinia Reservoir

Over 12 months of planning by Melbourne Water and CFA came to fruition on Wednesday 5 April and Thursday 6 April when CFA brigades joined crews from Melbourne Water to conduct a planned burn in the Cardinia Reservoir catchment.

The burn of 58 hectares was planned to achieve multiple outcomes benefitting not only local communities but the Greater Melbourne water supply as well. The primary aim was to reduce bushfire fuel in the catchment to assist in the protection of Melbourne Water assets and protect the supply of water to metropolitan Melbourne.

Areas of invasive weed species, such as pittosporum and pine, were also targeted in the burn. The burn was also strategically important in reducing fuels close to the nearby townships of Clematis and Emerald.

CFA Crews from Clematis, Menzies Creek, Belgrave Heights, Belgrave South, Macclesfield, Narre Warren East and Upper Beaconsfield put in a great effort supporting Melbourne Water crews in lighting, patrolling and blacking out roles. For many CFA crew members, it was their first opportunity to be part of ignition crews under the watchful eye of Ignition Crew Leader Renelle Verkes from Melbourne Water.

Dandenong Ranges Group was represented by DGOs Alan Potts and Phil Spencer who were on hand to mentor young and less experienced crew members, together with support from Catchment Officer Matt Hirst and Operations Officer Luke Patterson.

Keenly observing proceedings was Senior Instructor Roger Strickland from HQ Planned Burning team who provided wise counsel to the burn management group.

Burn Controller Tim Sanders, Senior Asset Manager – Water Supply Catchments and Bushfire and Deputy Burn Controller Sharon Merritt, Planned Fire Coordinator for Melbourne Water, were both delighted with the outcome of the burn and the cooperation between agencies.

“It was a textbook burn. We couldn’t have had a better result,” said Sharon.

“It was fantastic to have such a great response by CFA crews to assist at this burn, especially as it was midweek. I am sure those who attended gained some valuable experience and came away feeling they had not only contributed to the safety of their communities but additionally to the wider Melbourne community – not a bad day's work!”

Author: Planned Burning Project