Bushfire preparation begins

Forest Fire Management Victoria continues to prepare the region for the upcoming bushfire season, building on fuel management works conducted throughout the year to reduce bushfire risk for communities and the environment.
FFMVic has recruited additional seasonal firefighters, with 55 fixed-term firefighters in place across the district from late October to work alongside the department’s permanent firefighters.
FFMVic personnel are training and attending briefings in preparation for the summer ahead.
Teams of emergency specialists will be on standby for the Gisborne and Epsom Incident Control Centres from as early as next month, ensuring FFMVic and partner agencies are ready to respond to emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Testing and servicing the fleet of specialised firefighting vehicles is also under way, while two firefighting helicopters will return to the Bendigo airbase in summer.
In coming weeks as the weather gets warmer, fire lookout observers will also be stationed at eight strategically located fire towers across the district.
This preparation builds on FFMVic’s fuel management works throughout the year, including planned burning, slashing and mulching to reduce the speed and intensity of potential bushfires.
Since mid-2019, FFMVic has completed more than 3600 hectares of planned burning across the region with crews taking every opportunity to conduct burns when conditions allow and it is safe to do so. This has included high-priority burns to reduce bushfire risk near the towns of Castlemaine, Bendigo, Avoca, Heathcote, Wedderburn and St Arnaud.
In the same period, crews also completed more than 2600 hectares of mechanical fuel reduction work to create a strategic network of boundary fire breaks and internal corridors of fuel reduced areas on public land, so that the potential of large-scale bushfires is significantly reduced.
FFMVic’s acting district manager, James Marshall, said the agency was well resourced and well prepared for bushfire season.
“Fire preparedness is a shared responsibility – and that’s why we’re also working with the CFA and communities to help residents understand the actions they can take to reduce their own bushfire risk,” Mr Marshall said.

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