Roadside fire risk concern
The annual roadside grass mowing program is ramping up along the state’s major arterial roads.
But while the major freeways and highways are getting some attention, Member for Euroa Steph Ryan has called on the Victorian Government to slash all of the region’s roadsides as authorities warn of a dangerous fire season.
Speaking in Parliament, Ms Ryan urged the government to take immediate action to address increased roadside vegetation, ahead of the coming fire season.
‘‘Residents across the Euroa electorate have raised their concerns with me about the fire risks of long grass on roadsides, particularly given that conditions are already hot and dry,’’ Ms Ryan said.
‘‘With dry conditions and a bad fire season expected, it is critical that VicRoads stays on top of slashing and management of roadside vegetation to mitigate fire risk.
‘‘The CFA estimates that slashing decreases any potential flame height by half, making roadside fires easier to put out.’’
Regional Roads Victoria (RRV) North Eastern regional director Nicki Kyriakou said mowing crews would be out for the next couple of months on key roads including Hume Fwy between Wallan and Wodonga, and on Goulburn Valley Hwy.
‘‘Timing our grass cutting season is crucial, which is why we’re getting started now to make sure we’re on top of spring growth and ahead of the peak fire restriction period,’’ she said.
Ms Kyriakou said the slashing program differed each year, based on rainfall, temperature and the time it takes for the grass to grow.
In North East Victoria, the slashing program is expected to be completed across the region by early December, weather permitting.
During that time, speed and lane restrictions may be in place to keep drivers and workers safe.
Ms Ryan has also raised her concerns on accessibility for CFA firefighters with wire-rope barriers now in place.
‘‘CFA brigades across the region are greatly concerned about managing fires along the freeway this year without the equipment needed to cut through wire rope barriers,’’ she said.
‘‘This is a major concern repeated time and time again by our local brigades that the government has continued to ignore.
‘‘Emergency service workers, farmers and road users have all pointed out the potential dangers created by unbroken kilometres of wire rope barriers.
‘‘I am gravely concerned that the Andrews Government has heightened the risk of people getting trapped in a fire and has made it more difficult to respond to emergencies.’’
Confirmation and blessing
For many Christians, baptism is the first sacrament they receive.
On October 21, four children were given the second sacrament of Confirmation at St Malachy’s Catholic Church in Nagambie by the Bishop of Sandhurst, Bishop Les Tomlinson.
The confirmees had received religious instruction for this special day by parish folk, parents and through their schooling, then on the day their families and friends were in the congregation to see them receive Confirmation and blessings from the Bishop, with Monsignor Frank Hickey assisting with mass.
Pictured are Monsignor Frank Hickey (back) with Liam Treble, Charley Cahill, Bishop Les Tomlinson, Eoin Murphy, Emma Verrocchi. The children received the sacrament of Confirmation at Malachy’s Catholic Church in Nagambie.
— Diane Grant