FIRE Action Week is an important week for all Victorians
As we learn from the lessons of Black Saturday and continue rebuilding our fire-affected communities, the next fire season is almost here, starting on Wednesday October 28
This week is a call to action for all of us – a time to identify your fire risk, prepare your bushfire survival plan and clear your property.
I’m asking all Victorians to unite and prepare our communities, our homes, our families and ourselves.
We live in one of the most fire-prone places in the world.
Experts predict that this fire season we’ll be facing potentially worse conditions than the last.
Our focus is to make Victorian communities as fire safe and as fire ready as possible.
No one – no matter where they live or what their fire experience has been – can afford to be complacent.
Whether you live in a high-risk area in the bush or a high-rise apartment in the city, we’re all in this together.
Many people caught in last season’s fires were on day, weekend or work trips.
Fire Action Week is a whole-of-state effort, culminating in a “Prepare to be Fire Ready Day” on Sunday, October 18.
Our Government is working alongside local councils and communities to lead a range of activities, including clean-up working bees right across the state.
And it doesn’t end with this week – these activities are part of ongoing preparation for the fire season.
Fire preparation is a partnership between local and state governments, emergency services and local communities.
We are putting in place a range of measures to ensure Victoria is as fire ready as possible – hundreds of firefighters have started work earlier on fuel reduction burning, the CFA has recruited new members and agencies have been implementing key changes to fire management.
Individuals and households also have a key role in the fire preparation effort.
Here are some of the things that you can do:
• Keep grass cut
• Reduce “fine fuels” – including long, dry grass and fallen leaves and twigs
• Clear away dead undergrowth and fallen branches
• Move wood piles away from the home
• Clean leaves from gutters
• Place weather stripping around doors and windows
• Close underfloor spaces and seal all gaps where embers could enter
• Make firescreens to go over windows to prevent the glass from cracking in radiant heat
• Ensure access to adequate water supplies, such as tanks and dams, and install a sprinkler system around the home
• Gather appropriate fire-fighting equipment, such as ladders, hoses, buckets, mops, portable water pumps, rakes, and a knapsack spray to put out small “spot” fires
But remember, the safest option when there is a clear warning of a bushfire threat to any locations is to leave, and leave early.
Fire Action Week is a vital part of our plan to prepare for the fire season ahead and I urge all Victorians to get involved.
Seek advice from your fire-fighting agency and find out what CFA/MFB activities are in your area.
We all need to work together to ensure Victoria is as fire safe and as fire ready as possible.