Re­duc­ing the bush­fire risk

In­fra­struc­ture up­grades aid early de­tec­tion, re­sponse

Alpine Observer - - News -

FIRE­FIGHTER ac­cess to some of the re­gion’s most fire prone ar­eas of pub­lic land is be­ing im­proved through the Vic­to­rian Govern­ment’s $272.3 mil­lion Re­duc­ing Bush­fire Risk pro­gram.

As­sis­tant chief fire of­fi­cer for Hume re­gion, Jar­rod Hayse, said the four-year ini­tia­tive will fur­ther re­duce the risk of bush­fires to the com­mu­nity and the en­vi­ron­ment by up­grad­ing fire tow­ers, build­ing new bridges and im­prov­ing the con­di­tion of key for­est roads.

He said the works would sup­port the early de­tec­tion of bush­fires and rapid re­sponse of fire­fight­ers and heavy ma­chin­ery.

“Tim­ing is ev­ery­thing when it comes to re­spond­ing to bush­fires, par­tic­u­larly in re­mote for­est ar­eas,” Mr Hayse said.

“Through early de­tec­tion, and the abil­ity to get fire­fight­ers and ma­chin­ery on site as quickly as pos­si­ble, we greatly im­prove the chance of con­trol­ling fires be­fore they spread and im­pact com­mu­ni­ties and the en­vi­ron­ment.

“Across the re­gion we have com­pleted $5.7 mil­lion of works in the first year of the pro­gram to im­prove the con­di­tion of crit­i­cal for­est ac­cess roads.

“Bet­ter roads, with less haz­ardous road­side trees, give fire­fight­ers safer ac­cess when re­spond­ing to bush­fires, while also pro­vid­ing the com­mu­nity safer evac­u­a­tion routes if re­quired dur­ing an emer­gency.

“Ad­di­tional works are planned in the lead up to sum­mer, with a fur­ther $5.7 to be spent on road and bridge up­grades across the re­gion through­out the next year.

“This pro­gram com­ple- ments our planned burn­ing, slash­ing, and mulching works, and col­lec­tively helps re­duce the im­pacts of bush­fires on com­mu­ni­ties and the en­vi­ron­ment.”

Mr Hayse said the works will also im­prove ac­cess to some of the re­gion’s favourite re­cre­ational re­serves and tourist des­ti­na­tions, which is an added ben­e­fit for the lo­cal tourism in­dus­try.

“Some roads will be tem­po­rar­ily closed, but we will work with con­trac­tors and the lo­cal com­mu­nity to en­sure the safety of for­est users and vis­i­tors, and to re­duce dis­rup­tion as much as pos­si­ble,” he said.

“Most of the con­trac­tors work­ing on the up­grades are lo­cals, which is a key pri­or­ity for us un­der the pro­gram.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Re­duc­ing Bush­fire Risk pro­gram phone 136 186 or visit www.ffmvic.gov.au.

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