Lines attributable to EPA State Agency Commander Stephen Lansdell
The fire has been controlled and crews are still on scene today, with EPA Officers there providing technical support.
EPA’s fireground role has been to provide technical advice to Fire Rescue Victoria in minimising and preventing the effects of smoke and firewater runoff. Within an hour of the alarm, we had deployed a rapid response team to provide technical advice and environmental public health monitoring and prevention controls.
With the source of the fire unknown, EPA took a precautionary approach and began air and water quality monitoring in neighbouring areas to inform warnings to the community and scientific advice to the Incident Controller.
As with any fire, the smoke was hazardous and EPA warned members of the public to avoid the area.
Smoke impacts were limited to nearby industrial areas and EPA’s monitoring and officers on scene did not detect any effects on residential areas including at Roxburgh Park where we had called in VICSES volunteers to set up an EPA mobile Incident Air Monitoring unit as a precautionary measure.
EPA worked with Fire Rescue Victoria, Melbourne Water and Yarra Valley Water to bring in a variety of measures to limit the effects of any fire water runoff.
EPA’s rapid deployment of incident environmental monitoring together with water sampling and our officers’ visual observations informed the decision to use stormwater drainage plugs, sandbag bund walls and pump-out points where eduction trucks were used to take fire water for proper disposal via the sewer system.
EPA took samples in Foden Reserve, Merlynston Creek and Jack Roper Lake to identify the presence of any fire water and has continuous water monitoring and further sampling teams in the field today.
EPA’s warning to the public to avoid contact with the water in those areas is still current and Melbourne Water has warning signs to alert members of the public using the parks.
For any updates on the fire, see the Emergency Victoria website: emergency.vic.gov.au
For live air quality data around the state, see EPA AirWatch: epa.vic.gov.au/about-epa/news-media-and-updates/news-and-updates
For advice on smoke and your health, see the EPA website: epa.vic.gov.au/for-community/environmental-information/air-quality/smoke/smoke-your-health