The past fire season was a real reminder that we need to take the risk of bushfire in our local area very seriously, no matter where we live and work.
Fires in Victoria are fierce and pose a real threat to lives and property.
The Victorian Government worked hard to ensure the state’s emergency services were prepared for the past season, with aircraft, tankers and crews always at the ready.
I thank all those involved in the fire effort for their hard work and commitment demonstrated in the face of fires threatening life and property.
Even before the season started, a lot of work was done to reduce bushfire fuel on public land with methods such as planned burning, slashing, mowing and the construction of fire breaks.
Last year, this government delivered the biggest planned burning program the state has seen in three decades. We protected our state by undertaking over 255,000 hectares of planned burns.
Over the next few weeks you may continue to see or smell smoke from planned burns in your area and some roads may be closed.
Although this may cause inconveniences, these burns are part of a plan to reduce bushfire risk to our community, property and the environment.
The planned burns are carried out under carefully managed conditions and I thank the DEPI, Parks Victoria and CFA team for all their hard work.
The height of the fire season may have passed, but being fire aware and prepared is an ongoing and shared responsibility.
Landowners need to continue to take action by clearing weeds and removing firewood, rubbish and other fuel from around private property on a regular basis. Don’t wait until the weather warms up again.
I urge everyone in our community to know the fire risk where they live, work or travel, and what they should do if faced with a fire.
For the latest information see the planned burning map on the DEPI website www.depi.vic.gov.au/burnsmap or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.
Ryan Smith, Minister for Environment and Climate Change.