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Extra firies on standby

An additional team of firefighters from NSW and QLD will be stationed in Seymour during Feburary to deal with the increasing fire risk.

JENNA BISHOP February 5, 2014 4:09am

One of the interstate incident management teams stationed in Seymour during the fire danger period: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service's Tom Denman, Rural Fire Service's Matthew Reeves, Mark Cooper and Michael Brougham, District 12 CFA incident controller Phil Hawkey, RFS's Tania Crane and Steve Walker, NSW NPWS's Stephen King and District 12 CFA operations manager Peter Creak.


An additional firefighting incident management team will be based in Seymour during February as the state prepares for a month-long fire danger period.

More than 120 firefighters and operations officers from NSW, Queensland and New Zealand will be based in Victoria, helping to fight major fires still burning in the western Grampians and in Gippsland, as well as controlling any new fires.

Eight-person teams will be stationed in Seymour on a four-day rotational basis until the end of February, depending on conditions.

CFA District 12 operations manager Peter Creak said in light of recent and ongoing fires across Victoria plus the high fire danger weather conditions predicted, the Victorian Government had been in discussions with agencies interstate to base extra teams across the region.

‘‘We need to be prepared and this is about being prepared and ready,’’ he said.

‘‘These additional resources will not only boost our capacity, but also give our hardworking volunteers and staff a chance to manage their fatigue.’’

CFA incident controller Phil Hawkey said the operation would also be an excellent opportunity to exchange knowledge and ideas between the Victorian and NSW teams.

‘‘It’s good to get the expertise and experience of the NSW firefighters,’’ he said.

Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said over the past few months, the state had already experienced prolonged hot weather and heightened fire danger, with February traditionally being Victoria’s peak in summer fire risk.

‘‘Our crews have been working on various incidents for several months now and some of these fires are still going,’’ he said.

‘‘The total area burnt over the last 10 days is 140000ha.

‘‘While crews have done a fantastic job responding to and containing these blazes, there is still active fire burning within containment lines and a lot of work to do in cleaning-up and blacking out.

‘‘Whenever we have severe or extreme fire danger forecast, we need to take in to account that we still have fires going and a long four to six weeks ahead.’’

Other teams will be based in Gisbourne, Bendigo and Geelong.

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