CFA firefighters led fuel reduction burns in Manangatang over the weekend and used it as an opportunity to bring locals up to speed about bushfire safety.
Seven trucks operated by crews from Manangatang, Robinvale, Wemen, Annuello and Chinkapook fire brigades conducted three burns across the outskirts of the township on Sunday 17 October.
Firefighters completed a two-hectare roadside burn to the north-west of Manangatang and attended two additional activities to burn off vegetation piled and organised by local council.
CFA District 18 Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer (A/ACFO) Gavin Wright said it was great to join local CFA firefighters to get involved in fuel reduction burns again.
“The main objective for these burns was to create a vegetation break on the outskirts of town to greatly reduce the risk of a fire running from the north-west into Manangatang,” he said.
“We identified the high fuel load surrounding the town as a potential fire risk and we got the brigades on board.
“We had some rain earlier in the week, but the burns improved as the sun came up throughout the day.”
Manangatang is part of the Swan Hill Rural City Council area, which was declared to commence its Fire Danger Period (FDP) on 25 October, along with Mildura Rural City Council.
The activity started at around 9.30am and ran through until around 1.30pm.
“The burn got people’s attention during the day, so locals were making their way over to our crews and asking what they were up to. We probably spoke with around 50 residents,” A/ACFO Wright said.
“We had community engagement coordinators with us to chat with locals about what we were doing as well as asking them questions about their fire plan and what they would do in the event of a fire.
“We had a lot of reading material on hand to give to locals, which outlined tips on fire safety and how to prepare a fire plan.”
The CFA District 18 bulk water tanker – one of just two of its kind in Victoria – was available to provide a significant amount of water for the burns.
“It was a great risk mitigation activity paired with a community engagement aspect and we learned a lot from it that we can take into future burns,” A/ACFO Wright said.
District 18 will continue to look for opportunities to conduct similar fuel reduction activities in other Mallee communities in the lead-up to this year’s fire season.
Before the Fire Danger Period commences, residents are encouraged to prepare their property and can follow the tips below to keep private burn-offs safe.
Keeping burn-offs safe and legal
- Register your burn at firepermits.vic.gov.au or by calling 1800 668 511.
- Check fire restrictions with your local council.
- Monitor weather conditions – particularly wind – on the day of your burn and the few days after it as fires can flare up several days after a burn-off in windy conditions.
- To avoid unnecessary calls to emergency services, notify your neighbours beforehand.
- Leave a three-metre fire break, free from flammable materials around the burn.
- Have sufficient equipment and water to stop the fire spreading and to extinguish it.
- Never leave a burn-off unattended – stay for its entire duration.
- If your burn-off gets out of control, call ‘000’ immediately.
Tips for preparing your property
- Prune tree branches so they are not overhanging the roof or touching walls.
- Keep grass shorter than 10cm.
- Don’t have large shrubs in front of windows or glass doors.
- Before leaving early, make sure you remove all flammable items from around your home.
||CFA News & Media