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Wednesday 22 January 2020

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The eerie light of a ‘perfect’ fire storm

Picture: Yanni

WHILE CFA members from across the Mornington Peninsula were shuttling back and forth to help in East Gippsland last week, smoke from weeks of bushfires blanketed skies across the state. Semi-darkness throughout the days created an eerie feeling and presented unusual sights on the Mornington Peninsula. Among the most compelling were the lighthouse at Cape Schanck and Mornington Harbour. Red Hill Fire Brigade’s David Breadmore said 20 or so fires in in East Gippsland were difficult to control because they merged into one big fire, At one stage there was more 1000 kilometres of uncontained fire edge, including in remote and inaccessible areas. “Natural suppression of these fires requires a single rainfall event of over 200mm which is unlikely for the next few months,” Mr Breadmore said What could be termed “perfect storm” conditions had exacerbated the giant blaze started by dry lighting before Christmas. The fire front stretched from the East Gippsland coast over the north east Alpine area and beyond the NSW border to the north east and south east. Mr Breadmore said peninsula fire crews were always eager to help their East Gippsland colleagues. “Whenever we have a fire here, they are the first in their trucks to come and help us.”

CFA plea for volunteers to be patient Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au CFA brigades on the Mornington Peninsula have been inundated by volunteers wanting to join up to fight the state’s unprecedented bushfires. However, while their interest is welcomed, the sheer volume of applicants is causing problems. Peninsula Fire Brigades Group officer Timothy Desmond said all

brigades welcomed interest from volunteer their time, but 18 applicants in just the past week was too many to handle. “The Country Fire Authority is one of the most respected fire services in the world [and] we sincerely appreciate people wanting to step up and help their community,” he said. High fire activity across the state meant that all eight all peninsula brigades had supplied volunteers and

staff to “support crews in NSW earlier in the season and to East Gippsland while still maintaining a local response capacity”. “Since 1 January we have deployed 56 members - some on multiple occasions - and another nine leave this Sunday (19 January). Dromana, Flinders, Mt Martha and Rosebud tankers are working in the Swifts Creek/Orbost areas.” Widespread publicity of the fires

triggered a strong public response. Mr Desmond said “numerous people” had asked about being a volunteer with the Boneo, Dromana, Flinders, Main Ridge, Mt Martha, Rosebud, Rye, Safety Beach and Sorrento brigades. While the response was “fantastic” volunteers should realise they “won’t be fighting fires this fire season”. “Basic firefighting training is required to make sure our members

are equipped with the right skills and knowledge to stay safe and provide the right advice and assistance to the community under challenging and often dangerous circumstances,” Mr Desmond said. “As you can imagine, our brigades – along with many other emergency services – are extremely busy and it is expected to be a very long fire season, so please be patient with us. You might not hear from us for a while, until things settle down.”

Profile for Mornington Peninsula News Group

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Southern Peninsula News 21 January 2020

21 January 2020  

Southern Peninsula News 21 January 2020

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