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Caroline Springs gets keys to new tanker

July 1st, 2024Caroline Springs gets keys to new tanker

The Caroline Springs Fire Brigade has been handed the keys to a new heavy tanker in recent days.

The Caroline Springs Fire Brigade has been handed the keys to a new heavy tanker in recent days.

Member for Kororoit Luba Grigorovitch MP had the honour of officially handing over the new heavy tanker at the station last month.

Caroline Springs Captain Anthony Jenkins said the new heavy tanker is a next generation tanker and will enhance the brigade’s ability to serve the community.

“It has additional water carrying capacity, it’s higher off the ground and it has better capabilities as far as four wheel drive and off road vehicles,” Anthony said.

“It’s much easier for our members to operate and it’s a lot safer with new rollover protection cages.”

“We trained tirelessly for weeks so that we’d be ready to use it as soon as it was handed to us.”

“We had the tanker throughout summer and we took it to one of the strike team deployments at Beaufort.

“We put it through its paces, saved a couple of houses and hit the Beaufort fire head on in Raglan. It was a huge benefit to us.”

Caroline Springs is one of 48 brigades to receive a new, replacement heavy tanker funded in the CFA Capability Funding package.

Words & Image: CFA

CFA warns of electrical fire risk

June 30th, 2024CFA warns of electrical fire risk

Victoria’s fire services are warning Victorians to be aware of the risk of fires from everyday electrical household items.

Victoria’s fire services are warning Victorians to be aware of the risk of fires from everyday electrical household items.

Residents are being advised to keep the safety and maintenance of their electrical equipment front of mind when it comes to appliances such as clothes dryers, electric blankets and recharging portable devices.

In 2022-23, Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) and CFA responded to more than 5,137 structure fires across the state, which includes house fires.

“When a fire takes hold in a house, unit or apartment, it can swiftly spread and destroy your home in just a matter of minutes,” said FRV Deputy Commissioner Community Safety Joshua Fischer.

“Electrical fires are a common type of fire in the home. You can cut the risks by following a few simple steps and adopting commonsense habits that could make the difference between life and death.

“You should only use electrical equipment that meets Australian standards. Don’t overload power boards or cover them with flammable material. And don’t put electrical devices like laptops or hair straighteners on soft surfaces.”

DC Fischer said that people should turn off electrical devices at the power point, including electrical blankets and heaters before going to bed or leaving your home.

“Prevention is an essential part of fire safety for your home, so make a note on your to-do list. It really is worth taking a few minutes this winter to ensure you and your loved ones are protected against the risk of an electrical fire,” he said.

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said residents should check their appliances are in good working order with good air flow around them.

“No one thinks a house fire is going to happen to them, but last year CFA responded to 780 residential structure fires.  

“More than 140 of those were caused by electrical equipment including appliances and air conditioning. Already this year there have been over 60 electrical fires in the home,” CO Heffernan said.

“Using damaged or faulty electrical equipment and appliances can result in a fire, so please, play it safe, and only use certified electrical tradespeople to repair faulty appliances.

“It’s also important to check your home office is set up safely, with no loose cables or double adaptors and switch off any appliances at the wall when they’re not being used.

“We recommend all households have working smoke alarms that are regularly inspected and tested, you can buy them for as little as $20.”

 The CFA is warning that with electrical appliances it’s important to remember the following:   

  • Using damaged electrical equipment and appliances can result in a fire. Only use appliances in good working order.
  • Turn off all electrical appliances at the power point when not in use and ensure your home office is set up safely.
  • Don’t use double adaptors.
  • Only use power boards according to manufacturers’ instructions, never overload or have loose cables, and check regularly for damage.
  • Ensure monitors, laptops, televisions and other equipment have good air flow around them and are not in confined spaces or covered. 
  • Only use certified electrical trades people to repair damaged/faulty electrical appliances, wiring or equipment.
  • Do not charge electrical devices like phones, power banks and laptops on soft surfaces such as couches and beds.
  • If you are going away on holiday, make sure to turn off power to electrical appliances and let a neighbour know you are away. 
Beaufort brigade celebrates major milestone

June 30th, 2024Beaufort brigade celebrates major milestone

For 150 years, Beaufort Fire Brigade has been a mainstay in the community and that continues to this day.

For 150 years, Beaufort Fire Brigade has been a mainstay in the community and that continues to this day.

Last weekend, 90 brigade members and townspeople celebrated the milestone which included stories about its rich history. 

Former captain Ron Brown told stories from 1996 until today.  Lifetime member Jeff Torney covered beginnings to 1996 when urban and rural brigades combined. 

The Beaufort Fire Brigade was started by a small group of locals who saw a need for it in 1874, back then it was a bucket brigade with no trucks.  

Ron, who has been with the brigade for 39 years, said the deep history included a footy team in 1908 and 1930. Even winning a few games. 

“Another proud thing about us is of all the brigades through Western Victoria, in World War I we had the greatest contingency of firefighters that went to war, including my great grandfather William Cheeseman who was one of the first to sign up,” Ron said.  

“Beaufort was relying on townspeople to help with fires as so many went to war.”   

Today the brigade has 29 members, 13 operational, two CFA appliances: a tanker and light pumper. 

In 2020 the brigade received its new field command vehicle and it’s earmarked to obtain a new station. 

Beaufort Captain Tony Neville said they just elected their first female lieutenant in the brigades 150 history – Taylah Middlemist, 25.  

“It means in the future the brigade can keep moving forward and we are not going to become stagnant,” Tony said.  

“Taylah has a long time ahead of her and hopefully one day if she’s up for it she can progress through the ranks, up to the ranks of captain.” 

The brigade has been to every major fire over the years including Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday. 

Words & Images: CFA

New station opens for Mt Macedon fire brigade

June 29th, 2024New station opens for Mt Macedon fire brigade

Mt Macedon Fire Brigade members have celebrated the official opening of their new fire station in recent days.

Mt Macedon Fire Brigade members have celebrated the official opening of their new fire station in recent days.

The local community gathered last Friday, June 21, to mark the special occasion including CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan, the Hon. Mary-Anne Thomas MP and Mt Macedon Captain Tim Slattery.  

The $4.04 million state-of-the-art station located on Mt Macedon Road has replaced the brigade’s 42-year-old station. 

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said the new station will provide modern facilities and features designed to improve service to the community. 

“The new station features a three-bay drive through motor room capable of storing modern firefighting vehicles,” Jason said. 

“It also has a rear training yard, a hose drying tower, male and female turnout facilities, a workshop, a brigade office and communications room, a multi-purpose training room and kitchen. 

“The station is a much larger facility for the brigade and its local community to utilise for many years to come.” 

Mt Macedon Captain Tim Slattery says brigade members are very pleased with their new home. 

Foam fit-out to protect firefighters

June 17th, 2024Foam fit-out to protect firefighters

Thousands of firefighters will be better protected on the frontline with a new foam fit out on all of CFA’s ultralight vehicles.

Thousands of firefighters will be better protected on the frontline with a new foam fit-out on all of CFA’s ultralight vehicles.

The CFA has commenced the new $3.19 million retrofit program which includes 246 existing ultralights plus $4.95 million for the purchase of 33 new ultralights with crew protection.

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said significant laboratory, simulation and real fire exposure testing was conducted over the past few years to ensure the new systems met the occupant survival criteria.

“Retrofitting all our ultralights gives our members the best possible chance of survival in a burnover,” Jason said.

“The safety of our firefighters is our number one priority and we’re continuously looking for improved measures to do this.”

CFA introduced crew protection systems, such as water spray deluge and radiant heat shield curtains in all new tankers with at least 1,000 litres of water from 2006.

Between 2011 and 2013, CFA also retrofitted the same crew protection systems to all existing pre-2006 tankers.

The ultralight retrofit includes a compressed air foam based external deluge system (CAFS) and radiant heat shield curtains.

They will also be provided internal cabin stowage for fire blankets, making them more accessible for protection in a burnover.

All CFA crews undertake annual entrapment drills to ensure the continued familiarity with the new crew protection system.

Upper Beaconsfield Fire Brigade Captain Ian Pinney said their ultralight vehicle was one of the first in the program to receive the new foam fit-out.

“It’s an additional protection feature for the occupants in the vehicle. Hopefully we never have to use it, but it’s comforting to know it’s there,” Ian said.

“Ultralights have a light footprint so they are great to use in difficult-to-reach areas that trucks can’t.

“Our brigade is based in a high-risk rural bushfire area and we’ve attended significant fires over the years, so I can definitely see the benefit to further protecting our firefighters.”

The ultralights retrofit program is expected to be complete by the end of 2024.

Words & Image: CFA

CFA fleet boost with 25 new pumpers

June 16th, 2024CFA fleet boost with 25 new pumpers

Twenty-five new pumpers will be added to CFA’s fleet which help brigades better protect and serve their communities.

Twenty-five new pumpers will be added to CFA’s fleet which help brigades better protect and serve their communities.

The new pumpers will be capable of delivering 4,000 litres of water per minute and once operational will replace pumpers that are older than 20 years of age.

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said the new pumpers are a welcome addition to the fleet and will result in a significant uplift in capability across the state.

“With the latest technology Scania Cab Chassis and the ability to integrate breathing apparatus sets in the rear seats, the pumpers will carry all the necessary equipment and tools to operate on a fireground,” Jason said.

“The pumpers can continuously pump thousands of litres of water at high pressure from a static supply such as a street main, lake or reservoir.

“They will also have the ability to produce Compressed Air Foam using an onboard compressor for enhanced asset protection.

“These new pumpers will ensure our volunteers continue to be well equipped to protect their communities during an emergency.”

“The pumpers were designed by our volunteers to include gender specific requirements to support women within CFA and to help encourage women to join in the future.”

The first ten brigades to receive the new pumpers will be Wendouree, Kangaroo Flat, Sebastopol, Eaglehawk, Narre Warren, Rochester, Emerald, Benalla, Bairnsdale and Lorne.

Manufacturing of the new pumpers began late last year at SEM Fire and Rescue in Wendouree, with the first of the 25 pumpers due for completion mid-2025.

The Victorian Government announced additional funding of $18.6 million for 15 new pumpers last month on top of the $9.9 million for 10 pumpers announced last year.

Words & Image: CFA

Emergency services call out to donate blood

June 15th, 2024Emergency services call out to donate blood

The CFA is encouraging its members and the community to roll up their sleeves to save lives for the 2024 Emergency Services Blood Drive.

The CFA is encouraging its members and the community to roll up their sleeves to save lives for the 2024 Emergency Services Blood Drive.

The Blood Drive, held annually by Australian Red Cross Lifeblood from 1 June to 31 August, calls on emergency service workers to compete in a bit of healthy competition by providing the highest number of blood and plasma donations.

In recent days CFA Deputy Chief Officer Garry Cook and Hillcrest Fire Brigade members Rochelle Poulton and Molly Drane joined the launch of the drive alongside our emergency service partners at the Melbourne Donor Centre.

Hillcrest Fire Brigade 4th Lieutenant Rochelle Poulton kicked things off by donating plasma in the hope of rallying CFA members across the state to donate before 31 August.

“Each year when the blood drive starts I try to get a team together from my brigade to donate as it’s another way we can give back to the community,” Rochelle said.

“I try to donate plasma every fortnight because it’s important to me knowing my contribution is something larger than myself and it’s helping saving lives.

“I also receive a text message telling me where my blood is going and how many lives it’s saving.

“My blood went all the way to Western Australia once, which is incredible and makes it a reality that people out there need your help.”

Deputy Chief Officer Garry Cook said he hopes our members and the community can get behind the challenge this year to help save more lives.

“The need for blood is ongoing and one donation can save up to three lives so it’s a small amount of your time for an incredible cause,” Garry said.

“Our members are always great at rising to the occasion, so I encourage them to roll up their sleeves and donate before the end of August.”

To book a donation, visit www.lifeblood.com.au, call 13 14 95 or download the donate blood app.

Words & Image: CFA

Firefighter takes icy plunge

June 14th, 2024Firefighter takes icy plunge

A CFA firefighter took an icy plunge recently, all in the name of charity.

A CFA firefighter took an icy plunge recently, all in the name of charity.

CFA volunteers and residents in the Dandenongs and surrounds came together with the hope of fundraising $50,000 for motor neurone disease (MND) research at an event which saw participants slide into a big pool of ice.  

Emerald Fire Brigade 3rd Lieutenant Chris May said he wanted to pull out all stops to support event organiser Matt Stickland who suffers from MND. 

“Matt and his wife Sarah wanted me to dress up as someone fun and inspirational for the event and I thought given my one-year-old is obsessed with the Wiggles, it would be fitting to go as the blue Wiggle,” said Chris.  

“I then got in touch with Anthony Field, the original blue Wiggle on Instagram and explained what we were doing.   

“He got back to me and said he would send a skivvy straight down from Wiggles HQ in Sydney.  

“It played out as a nice surprise at the event which was supported by Clematis Fire Brigade and Emerald SES. 

“I arrived with my turnout gear on but then revealed my outfit for the organisers. They love the story behind it!” 

The Hills Big Freeze fundraiser took place on Sunday 2 June at the Paradise Valley Hotel in Clematis.  

Twelve local identities including Jaidyn Stephenson from North Melbourne Football Club and Dylan Moore from the Hawthorn Football took part in the event to help raise awareness and funds to support FightMND.  

“This is about giving people who suffer from MND the best chance at life and hopefully finding a cure in the future,” Chris said.  

The event included raffles, silent auctions, food and drink and by the time the night set in more than $100,000 had been raised by the community for FightMND. 

Teens hone skills at CFA cadet camp

June 14th, 2024Teens hone skills at CFA cadet camp

Teenagers from across the state honed their firefighting skills during the recent CFA Cadet Camp.

Teenagers from across the state honed their firefighting skills during the recent CFA Cadet Camp.

Around 40 teens camped at the Lady Northcote Discovery Camp in Glenmore over the weekend for the fourth annual camp, which included a day at VEMTC Central Highlands performing fire drills and working with thermal imaging.  

The camp brings together CFA’s youngest senior members, 16-17 years old, to enhance their skills, knowledge, teamwork and leadership through practical, hands-on training. 

It was established to help address retention rates and strengthen engagement with teenage members. 

Volunteer Sustainability Team youth programs leader Jennifer Clement said the camp was a great way for the young members to get to know peers with similar interests. 

“It gives them the opportunity to build skills in leadership, teamwork, fire skills and there is huge opportunity for personal development,” Jennifer said.   

“We see young people nervous when they get there but by the end of the weekend they don’t want to leave and say, ‘We’ve had so much fun.’ 

“Fun is such a huge aspect of it… Having fun is when the learning happens.”  

Two participants this year, Mia Llewelyn, from the South Morang Fire Brigade, and Cody Polack, from the Warracknabeal Fire Brigade, said they enjoyed the camp. 

“The camp members have definitely become like brothers and sisters to me and I am very fortunate for that,” Mia said. 

Cody said his highlight was the fire training at VEMTC. 

“We got to see a real-life simulation of what you might witness on the fireground. Another highlight was making friends I will have for life,” he said. 

Words & Image: CFA

Firefighters battle reptile factory fire

June 13th, 2024Firefighters battle reptile factory fire

CFA firefighters battled a large factory fire filled with reptiles in Kilsyth South earlier this month.

CFA firefighters battled a large factory fire filled with reptiles in Kilsyth South earlier this month.

Firefighters were called to the structure fire at Canterbury Road at around 8.28pm on June 3.

The incident occurred at a reptile facility which housed over 540 animals including snakes, crocodiles and lizards.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dave Renkin, who was on scene, said there was a large amount of smoke when crews first arrived.

“Firefighting crews could see there were flames coming from the roof space and they quickly gained access to start combating the fire. A ladder platform was used to gain access to the roof which helped contain the fire,” Dave said.

“As a safety measure none of our firefighters went near the room that contained venomous snakes and Ambulance Victoria was on scene to assist if required.

“Once the fire had safely been extinguished the owners and wildlife carers started to remove reptiles and animals. Sadly some were lost in the fire but many were saved.

“No day is ever the same in this job.”

Victoria Police was also called to the scene. Thirteen CFA units responded alongside FRV. The incident was deemed safe and under control at 9.44pm. The cause of the fire was being investigated.

Words & Image: CFA

CFA launches home safety update for folk most at risk

June 3rd, 2024CFA launches home safety update for folk most at risk

The CFA's ‘Prevent Detect Escape: Home Fire Safety for people at higher risk’ e-learning module has recently been updated and is now available to complete for free, online.

The CFA’s ‘Prevent Detect Escape: Home Fire Safety for people at higher risk’ e-learning module has recently been updated and is now available to complete for free, online.

The autumn leaves have fallen, and the weather has become cooler. We are all curling up on the couch and turning on our heaters for the months ahead. The CFA says this is a perfect time to turn our minds to home fire safety. 

A concerning 62 per cent of the people who died in home fires between 2003-2017 had a disability. The significant statistic was the catalyst for CFA to develop the ‘Prevent Detect Escape’ e-learning module with Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) in 2022. 

More than 4,000 people have now completed the module, and we received feedback from more than 1,000 of them. 

Some of the comments the CFA has since received include the following:

“The module is very informative and practical. I will bring this topic to family discussion and share it with my elderly neighbour, particularly the Escape Plan.”

“Overall, clear and would assist members discussing this with their community.”

“Makes me think of more action in the home in case of a fire. Will be discussing a plan with my children ASAP.”

“It was great. Better than just reading content. I find listening and watching videos much more engaging.”

“As a burns survivor, I think this type of training is a must for EVERYONE.”

The CFA received some suggestions for improvement, and has since updated the module. The updated module includes:  

  • new scenario-based learning 
  • improved accessibility features 
  • hoarding information 
  • clearer smoke alarm information 
  • quizzes at the end of each section 

The CFA is encouraging everyone to complete the hour-long e-learning module which can be found on the CFA website. 

Escaped burn-offs ignite a reminder for landowners

May 18th, 2024Escaped burn-offs ignite a reminder for landowners

Following a year that saw CFA volunteers respond to 815 incidents caused by escaped burn-offs, fire crews are now urging landowners to take extra precautions before lighting up.

Following a year that saw CFA volunteers respond to 815 incidents caused by escaped burn-offs, fire crews are now urging landowners to take extra precautions before lighting up.

With fire restrictions now lifted across the state, private residents are taking the opportunity to burn off grass, stubble, weeds, and undergrowth to maintain their properties.

While encouraged, CFA reminds Victorians to monitor local weather forecasts in the lead up to ignition.

In 2023, over 22,500 volunteer hours were utilised responding to incidents involving escaped private burn-offs. Most call outs were during April and May and later in spring from September to November.

CFA Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook said the findings from these statistics are a timely reminder for private landowners to make sure they have enough people and water on hand to monitor, contain and extinguish their burn-off safely.

“The incidents in 2023 resulted in over 12,100 volunteers jumping on the truck to respond. This year, we would love to see that number decline significantly,” Garry said.

“We know burn-offs can flare-up several days afterwards, so it is important residents are consistently monitoring wind conditions before and after their burning day, while also notifying their neighbours to be mindful of smoke.

“The overarching message is clear – please don’t leave your burn-off unattended.”

Victorians are urged to register their burn-offs online through the Fire Permits Victoria website to provide agencies with important information to manage fire risk effectively and to allow Triple Zero call takers to focus on emergency calls.

“Of the 815 escaped burn offs, 69 per cent of them had no record of being registered and 113 required more than five CFA vehicles,” Garry said.

“If you light a fire to burn-off, you own it. Registering it is important and may avoid unnecessary responses from CFA brigades, but it does not remove your responsibility.”

Words & Image: CFA

Mums leading new generation of CFA volunteers

May 16th, 2024Mums leading new generation of CFA volunteers

The CFA celebrated its incredible mums this Mother’s Day on Sunday, and Michelle Turnham said her kids inspired her to become a CFA volunteer. 

The CFA celebrated its incredible mums this Mother’s Day on Sunday, and Michelle Turnham said her kids inspired her to become a CFA volunteer.

Michelle Turnham volunteers with Ararat Fire Brigade along with her husband Ash and son Bailey.   

Michelle said volunteering with CFA has given her fulfilment in so many ways she hadn’t expected and it’s given her an outlet.  

“I actually joined because of my kids who were CFA Juniors at the time,” Michelle said.  

“When I started, I spent four years as a non-operational volunteer and then decided I would give firefighting a go and haven’t looked back since.  

“I have done so much more than I expected, I said I wouldn’t ever be more than a wildfire firefighter and now I have completed the low structure course and external breathing apparatus training.”  

Michelle said volunteering and being a busy working mother of three kids doesn’t come without its challenges.  

“We have a bit of a roster as a family that allows me to turn out,” she said.   

“My older boys can look after the youngest if we need and I have friends and family I can call on to support me.   

“It has instilled a sense of community in my kids. My eldest son Jaxon is in the process of joining now and Bailey continues to shine, he has really come out of his shell thanks to CFA.  

“I sometimes turn out alongside Bailey and I love that the dynamic is we are both firefighters working together at an incident, not mother and son.  

“Even my six-year-old is fire truck obsessed and loves ‘checking the tyres’ when he comes down to the station.”  

Kelly-Ann Ryan is the daughter of a former CFA volunteer and now a firefighter with St. Andrews Fire Brigade. Kelly’s mother Jenni was a huge inspiration to her growing up and why she is a volunteer today.  

“My mother was a volunteer at Upper Ferntree Gully and held the position of Secretary,” Kelly-Ann said.   

“Mum is incredibly strong, and I was in awe seeing her turn out when I was a kid, I wanted to be her.  

“Her community values have made a huge impact on me, she was so dedicated to the brigade she did everything from fundraising to supporting other communities on strike teams.  

“She is honestly my best friend; she would do anything for her daughters and grandchildren.”  

Words & Image: CFA

Close call shows smoke alarms are essential

May 16th, 2024Close call shows smoke alarms are essential

A father whose family escaped a fire that destroyed their Truganina home in a matter of minutes late last year is now calling on Victorians to install smoke alarms in all bedrooms.
CFA Deputy Chief Officer Alen Slijepcevic, Ramesh Gajurel and FRV Deputy Commissioner Community Safety Josh Fischer

A father whose family escaped a fire that destroyed their Truganina home in a matter of minutes late last year is now calling on Victorians to install smoke alarms in all bedrooms.

Ramesh Gajurel, his wife and child were finishing dinner in their kitchen when their hallway smoke alarm activated.

A fire had ignited in a spare bedroom and was quickly spreading through the house. 

“We had just finished the dinner and were doing the clean-up and all of a sudden we heard the [smoke] alarm in the lounge area,” said Ramesh. 

“We went through each and every room and we found the second bedroom was already on fire – then we just tried to find a way out.” 

The bedroom door had been shut and there was no smoke alarm inside, so by the time the family was alerted to the fire it was already burning aggressively. 

The family safely evacuated, but unfortunately the house was so badly damaged by the incident in November 2023 that it had to be demolished. 

That said, Ramesh sees himself as lucky, because if someone had been sleeping in the bedroom when the fire broke out, it would likely have been fatal. 

“I think it’s really important to have [smoke] alarms in each bedroom, just in case. When you are sleeping in the night …you can act very quickly,” he said. 

The family’s lucky escape has prompted Victorian fire services to once again emphasise that smoke alarms are a bedroom essential. 

FRV Deputy Commissioner Community Safety Joshua Fischer said fires that start in bedrooms were the ones most likely to kill you. 

“If fire breaks out in your bedroom and the door is shut, the hallway smoke alarm will not activate until the fire has burned through the door, which will be too late,” he said. 

“Smoke will not wake you – in fact, it will put you into a deeper sleep and render you unconscious – so it’s crucial that you have a smoke alarm installed in all sleeping areas. 

“Think about all the items we now find in bedrooms that could catch alight – from rechargeable battery products to electronic devices and heaters. 

“Without a working smoke alarm, you may not get the chance to safely escape. Quite simply, they could save you and your family’s lives.” 

CFA Deputy Chief Officer Alen Slijepcevic said a smoke alarm costs as little as $20, with a range of other types on offer depending on your housing and financial situation. 

“Concerningly, FRV and CFA’s most recent survey of Victorians revealed just 17 percent of Victorians have smoke alarms in their bedrooms. Around 47 percent of people do not have a smoke alarm in any living room.”

“This is why we really encourage all Victorians to install smoke alarms in all bedrooms, living areas and hallways.” 

Words & Image: CFA

Brigade helps wildlife impacted by fires

May 15th, 2024Brigade helps wildlife impacted by fires

The Goongerah Fire Brigade, in a remote East Gippsland settlement, was badly impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires.

The Goongerah Fire Brigade, in a remote East Gippsland settlement, was badly impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires.

Tucked away between two national parks, the small community lost 10 homes and twice that many farm sheds.

As well as slowly rebuilding and repairing their properties, many locals have been putting in a lot of work installing nest boxes for wildlife.

“More than 100 boxes have been installed throughout the valley,” field ecologist, wildlife carer and Goongerah Fire Brigade Lieutenant Rena Gabarov said.

“They are hopefully helping the recovery of dozens of hollow-dependent species that were killed in the fires. Hollows are critical for about 80 species of Gippsland birds, mammals and reptiles.”

The loss of thousands of hollow-bearing trees in the fires has heavily impacted animals such as the threatened gliders, large birds such as black cockatoos, and our rare and endangered forest owls, including the powerful and sooty owls.

The boxes were donated to locals and Goongerah brigade by people from all walks of life, including Fulham Correctional Centre, several Men’s Sheds, Victorian National Parks Association and small businesses.

Goongerah Fire Brigade Captain Tony Bunt said it’s rewarding to see so many of these boxes now being used by native birds and marsupials.

“It gives us a boost to see wildlife slowly returning that would otherwise have had nowhere to shelter and raise their young,” Tony said.

Words & Images: CFA

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