By Colin MacGillivray
CFA representatives will host online information sessions for residents of Wallan’s Wallara Waters estate and Pyalong next week as bushfire season approaches.
CFA district 12 community engagement co-ordinator Matt Ahern said forecasted La Niña conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic would combine to make this fire season a unique one.
He said the sessions – on November 24 for Wallara Waters and November 26 for Pyalong – offered an opportunity for residents of both areas to be better prepared.
“We’ve got the La Niña effect that has come through, which means potentially a warmer and wetter fire season,” he said.
“We’re going to have increased rain and probably thunderstorm activity, as well as drying out in places, which makes it a bit complicated.
“Wallara Waters is a place where we’ve got a lot of new people moving into the area, and some of those people are moving out from the inner city.
“The message in estate areas like Wallara Waters that are surrounded by grassland is that we don’t want them to leave and get out of the estate if it is threatened by fire.
“What we want people to do is go two streets in, or find a safe spot in the middle of the estate and not near the outside.
“That meeting is predominantly going to be about preparing properties, especially around the outside of the estate.”
Mr Ahern said the Pyalong session would cover the basics of bushfire safety, and provide an introduction for people who wanted to learn more.
“Pyalong is an area where we haven’t had a community meeting in some time and we’ve had a few phone calls from people who have bought properties out there and are interested in how they can prepare them for fire season,” he said.
“It’s just covering the basics of what you need to know and look out for, how to stay informed and a bit on personal preparation.
“For anyone afterwards who is interested in getting more information about property preparation and putting together a plan, we suggest they then move onto one of our bushfire planning workshop sessions.”
Both sessions will commence at 7.30pm and run for approximately 90 minutes.
People can also visit facebook.com/CFADistrict12, where links to event pages for both sessions are posted.
Mr Ahern encouraged any property owners thinking about conducting a burn-off to ensure they registered it with the CFA and checked all relevant council bylaws first.
He said people could register a burn-off by calling 1800 668 511.