Bass Coast,

Bass Coast gets fire ready

Bass Coast’s Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee (MFMPC) has been working hard to prepare for the summers bushfire season. The committee has developed the Municipal Fire Management Plan which identifies different levels of bushfire risk for different localities, and identifies how to reduce the risk.

The committee includes Country Fire Authority (CFA), Victoria Police, Parks Victoria, Forest Fire Management Victoria (DELWP), Phillip Island Nature Parks (PINP), Bass Cast Shire Council and VicRoads. These agencies work together with Ausnet Services, Westernport Water and South Gippsland Water to plan for potential bushfire emergencies in Bass Coast.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, explained that Council has identified where and how to reduce fire risk across Bass Coast

“In preparation for the upcoming fire season, officers have been out inspecting private land and issuing notices to people who need to cut their grass or to remove fire hazards where identified,” Cr Rothfield said.

“Council’s roadside slashing program has also been completed to reduce roadside fuels and limit the likelihood of ignitions caused by hot vehicle parts.”

Bass Coast Shire also maintains a number of Fire Access Tracks and Static Water tanks that are checked during the lead in to summer to ensure their availability for fire agencies.

The Phillip Island Nature Parks have also identified fire management priorities. This includes visitor and community safety, protection of life and property and the protection of wildlife habitat such as the little penguin and short-tailed shearwater colonies, and koala habitat.

The main fire prevention activities that PINP undertake are vegetation management, slashing of strategic fuel breaks near to residential areas, Ranger patrols and education, and preparing their firefighting vehicles to conduct first attacks on fires.

Parks Victoria’s Gerard Delaney explained that due to the early season fires in East Gippsland and the underlying dryness, fire preparedness works have commenced slightly earlier than usual across the Bass Coast Shire areas managed by Parks Victoria.

“Fire protection slashing in various reserves around the Wonthaggi township area has been completed and the remaining works in the outlying reserves throughout the district will be finished prior to Christmas,” Mr Delany said.

“Any potential fire hazard concerns relating to public land in your area can be directed to the Parks Victoria Information Line on 131 963.”

Victoria Police Senior Sargent, Andy O’Brien, said  that the Police will be conducting targeted patrols during the Fire Danger period. Anyone detected lighting fires during the Fire Danger period will be prosecuted. Anyone who sees anything suspicious is encouraged to contact Police on 000 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000

CFA Community Safety will be delivering a number of community education activities in Bass Coast early in 2018. Fire Ready Victoria meetings will be held in Grantville (January 4), Cape Paterson (January 7), and Inverloch (January 13). Additionally the CFA community education trailer will be visiting Silverleaves, and the Cowes Night Market on January 13