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Red Alert: But Rochester’s danger isn’t the traditional bushfire

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September 19, 2017

From left to right: 4th Lieutenant Trav Windridge, 2nd Lieutenant Luke Weymouth, Treasurer Heidi Warren, 1st Lieutenant Brett Kyne, Secretary Tainia Barkby, Captain Luke Warren, 3rd Lieutenant Kyle Williams, Communications Officer Joel Rowlands. Absent FEM Officer Jarrod Kelly.

VICTORIA might be facing an above-average fire season this summer but Rochester’s biggest threat is not the traditional bushfire.

Rochester CFA captain Luke Warren said the prediction for this year’s fire season is likely to be less relevant to Rochester residents because there is less bush around.

But we are facing danger from another direction.

“The real risk for Rochester and district is grass fires, including from crops,” Mr Warren said.

He said emergency services have been doing their usual planning and preparations for the season and their messages are clear to communities throughout the region that they will need to do their part to aid with proving predictions wrong for the season ahead.

“It’s important to recognise we can all have an impact on fire safety this year and fire preparation and preparedness is everyone’s responsibility,” Mr Warren said.

“Residents and landholders can start cleaning up now around homes and properties and ensure long grass is slashed and garden rubbish and vegetation is cleared from your property.”

Although the season is only just around the corner, emergency services have been preparing well in advance to make sure they are fully prepared for the challenges they will face during the summer months.

“Planning and preparation for this year’s fire season started in June,” Mr Warren said.

“At a brigade level, extra training is being undertaken by crews and crew leaders in preparation for this fire season such as grassfire training, bushfire training, burn-over and entrapment training,” he said.

“Extra resources are being put in place and incident control training is also being updated.”

A boost to the aircraft fleet used by emergency services, with $13.42 million being delivered to it to make it the biggest the state has seen, will also play an important part in the season ahead.

“The fleet is a very important asset to have at our disposal every season as it allows us to attack fires that are in difficult areas which are either very difficult or impossible for our trucks and ground vehicles to get at.”

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