The last roundtable was held on 24 March and we had a full and varied agenda. Just a few of the topics covered follow:
- Russell Manning gave details of the last six months fire season. The Wimmera had a very busy fire season with more individual fires than we have experienced for many years. The dry conditions since winter last year lead to the country being very dry and high fire risks even under relatively mild conditions. Between September and November there were 30 fires. Fortunately we had a fairly mild late January, February and March. However the start of January saw DELWP managing 51 fires between Jan 2 & 7. With only 8 dozers and 8 aircraft, resources were stretched. The 2 big fires which impacted on the Grampians Region were the fire at Moyston and near Rocklands. As we had our meeting at the Moysten CFA shed we heard from locals about details of the fire and we later toured some of the burnt areas.
- The Victorian Government has asked the Inspector-General for Emergency Management (IGEM) to conduct a review of performance targets for the future bushfire fuel management program on public land. The report on this was due at the end of March but due to larger than expected number of submissions the report has been delayed. This is on our agenda for discussion at our June meeting.
- Glenn Rudolph told us about the planned burns and how they are trying to look at burns more from the fire risk perspective and some of the large areas on the Fire Operation Plan (FOP) will have small burns applied over successive years to create a mosaic effect. They are wanting to move away from the annual FOP process and have ongoing discussions of the burn programs. The dry conditions have meant that this years burn program will have to have changes made to it.
- Andrew Govanstone updated us on the South Western Bushfire Risk Landscape Plan (SWBRP). Seven risk landscape areas have been set up across the state. Strategic management plans for three of these areas were recently launched and the rest are due this year and the SWBRP should be available in July 2015. These plans take into consideration population centres, infrastructure, fire history, and environmental assets. The Pheonix Rapidfire Modelling computer program is used to identify the highest risk areas and which areas will best modify fire behaviour and reduce risk to assets. The model has been used to reassess fire management zones and does not vary greatly to the rezoning which occurred a couple of years ago. Over the next couple of months there will be opportunity for stakeholders and the wider community to have input into this plan. If you want further information on this plan contact Andrew Govanstone, Strategic Partnerships Facilitator, on 55270425 or by emailing