CFA survey concern
ONLY one in 10 Victorians living in areas at high risk of bushfire say they would ‘leave early’ on days of high fire danger, a CFA survey has revealed.
That’s the lowest proportion in the past seven years of the CFA’s Bushfire Community Survey, undertaken annually since 2009-10, which recorded a peak of 15 per cent in 2012.
Myrtleford CFA Captain, Garry Gunson, described the statistic as “a bit sad”.
“It’s very unfortunate but there’s not much we can do about it, we can’t force people to leave,” he said.
“Our location topography there’s pretty much only one way out.
“Myrtleford’s lucky to have Wodonga or Wangaratta but as far as the group goes, the Ovens Valley as a whole, you don’t really have a choice.
“People from Bright don’t want to be going down the Great Alpine Road at a days’ notice they need to be thinking about leaving a day or two in advance.”
Mr Gunson said even though Buffalo River has a Rose River exit, he would also suggest they leave with ample time given the likelihood of it also becoming trapped in high risk bushfire period.
“It’s the topography of the valley, if they do get trapped they’re on their own basically, where there’s only one way out- you need to be leaving early,” he added.
“That is especially for campers and holiday makers, they must know an emergency exit and have a planned evacuation if need to be.”
The CFA’s Deputy Chief Officer Stephanie Rotarangi said those who waited too long to leave, or were not adequately prepared to defend their property, could be risking their lives and those of firefighters.
“Leaving early is the safest option to protect yourself and your family and it means leaving the area before a fire starts – not when you can see flames or smell smoke. Leaving early means avoiding panic, being trapped, making the wrong choices and risking serious injury or death,” she said.
“This season still has the potential to be in line with Victo- ria’s driest fire seasons. It’s not a question of if there will be bushfires this season, it’s a question of when and where.”
When quizzed, Mr Gunson added he was disappointed with the state election result that went against Myrtleford’s hopes for a new CFA station.
“Tim McCurdy was on our side and he got most of the votes from here but his party didn’t get in, unfortunately that’s the way it rolls,” he said.
ACT BEFO RE IT’S TOO LATE:M yrtleford CFA captain Gary G unson says residents should be prepared to ‘leave early’on days ofhigh fire danger.