Victoria Deputy Premier Peter Ryan
Victoria Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan
Victoria Minister for Environment Ryan Smith
Coalition To Better Prepare Victoria Against Bushfires
Victor P Taffa
The Victorian Coalition Government is increasing fire fighting resources to better prepare the state against bushfires, Deputy Premier and Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan announced today.
Mr. Ryan, who visited Melbourne’s outer east to inspect progress on the Melbourne Bushfire Protection Program, said an additional 123 full time, permanent firefighters had been recruited to boost fuel reduction efforts.
“We have increased the number of permanent fire-fighting staff throughout the state to ensure important work such as planned burning, slashing and maintenance of fuel breaks continues.” Mr. Ryan said.
“Many of these full-time positions have been allocated to seasonal firefighters who will now work permanently to increase fire mitigation efforts across the state.”
Mr. Ryan said fire fighting crews from Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Parks Victoria had been making good use of the unseasonably cool weather to start fuel reduction burns and 45 km of new fuel breaks on public land throughout Melbourne’s outer parklands.
Environment Minister Ryan Smith said crews had been candling the practise of burning bark on trees to reduce fire hazards ahead of planned burns as well as slashing and working on fuel breaks, to protect communities within greater Melbourne.
“During bushfires, tree bark creates embers which can travel up to 20 km from the main fire, which can start new fires.” Mr. Smith said.
“The benefit of candling is twofold it helps to protect fire-fighters when they carry out planned burning, and minimises the risk of embers in a bushfire.”
DSE Chief Fire Officer Ewan Waller said planned burns in the Dandenongs could be seen from most of Central and Eastern Melbourne so it was likely people would see and even smell smoke when the burn was conducted.
“We’ve had crews out burning across the state this past week, in areas including Mt. Macedon, Deer Park and the Otways and we are planning to burn this week in Orbost, Bairnsdale and Swifts Creek Districts.” Mr. Waller said.