Preparations for the upcoming fire season are well underway for the state’s emergency services and Victorians are being urged to start actively preparing in the coming weeks.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville today joined key emergency services and supporting agencies to discuss the season ahead and the upcoming intensive month of activities to raise awareness in communities and assist them to prepare.
Hot and dry conditions are forecast over summer, particularly in East and West Gippsland where there has been low autumn and winter rain over the past three years.
These elevated conditions mean an extended preparedness campaign is necessary above and beyond a single week of fire action which has been the practice in the past.
The Andrews Labor Government has provided more than $29 million in funding for a record fleet of 50 aircraft, including a mix of water bombing, air supervision and air intelligence-gathering aircraft.
Victoria will also be supported by a surge capacity of up to 100 aircraft, which can be called to supplement the fleet when needed.
Emergency services agencies have begun preparations, pre-briefings and training exercises, while thousands of volunteers and career firefighters are on standby to respond to emergencies.
While Victorian emergency management agencies are preparing, it’s also important the community understands their own risk and is actively preparing.
Victorians can stay up-to-date with emergency warnings throughout the fire season by tuning into ABC local radio or other commercial and community radio stations, Sky News broadcasts, phoning the VicEmergency hotline 1800 226 226, visiting emergency.vic.gov.au, and downloading the VicEmergency App.
As stated by Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville
“Good information will lead to good decisions. Staying safe during a fire – whether you live in the bush or on the urban fringe – is a shared responsibility.”
“As we’ve unfortunately seen in Queensland and New South Wales, it’s possible the fire season could start here in Victoria before the weather warms up.”
“Victorians should start developing a fire action plan for themselves, their family and their pets, discussing it and even practicing it so that everyone is ready to act.”