I hope everyone was able to take a break over the Easter/Anzac Day period – the start to the year has been very busy.

Allyson LardnerForest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) has continued taking every opportunity to reduce bushfire risk through the planned burn program and we were able to carry out several priority burns over the holiday period.​

Unfortunately, the La Nina weather pattern we are experiencing this year has prevented the full delivery of our fuel management plan. However, in this financial year, at the time of writing we have been able to complete a total of 61,244 hectares of fuel management, comprising of: ​

  • 227 planned burns covering 53,968 hectares; and ​
  • 7,276 hectares of non-burn fuel treatment. ​

Our planned burn program has focused on the delivery of priority burns, including those that provide the highest level of risk reduction, or those that were culturally or ecologically significant. ​

So far, we have been able to deliver 81 of the 135 (60%) priority burns identified in the Joint Fuel Management Program for 2021-22. ​Well done to all the teams involved in this important work.

Back in February the Chief Fire Officer Chris Hardman wrote about the Remote Water Access Project which would see the construction and installation of several concrete water storage tanks in four remote locations across northeast Victoria.

Access to water in some of Victoria’s most fire prone remote areas is a major challenge for firefighters and I am pleased to say the first ‘heli-dip’ site has now been completed.

Located on Dunstans Track in the Upper Murray, the new heli-dip will allow helicopters to fill their tanks or buckets with up to 11,000 litres of water. We know that rapid response to bushfires is critical to protecting communities and the environment. These tanks will help reduce the turnaround times to get water to fire in remote areas and support the fire crews on the ground.

The tanks were installed at a former gravel pit because we wanted to limit the effect of building works on vegetation recovering from the 2019/20 bushfires.

Planning for the next round of works has started with the heli-dips planned for Mount Sarah and Kate’s Track in the Tea Tree Range, Mount Selwyn Creek, and Matlock State Forest.

This is just one of the many projects that are improving how we respond to the increased frequency of major bushfires and work to protect communities and the environment.

As one fire season ends, we have started work on our 2022-23 project firefighters (PFF) recruitment campaign so that we are prepared for the next.

The campaign will kick off in early July and if you are interested in being notified when applications open, you can register your interest at https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/who-we-are/firefighting-and-employment.