The fires in East Gippsland have Mallacoota on edge with fears that if the township were to be threatened by bushfire, the outcome would be disastrous.
Lieutenant Les Carson is the CFA secretary in Mallacoota and also serves as the brigade’s health and safety coordinator.
Lt Carson says the environment in and surrounding Mallacoota remains bone dry.
“It’s very, very dry and for the third year in a row we’ve had below average rainfall,” he said.
“Mallacoota has been one of the extremely dry areas in the state.”
The last time fire impacted the township was during the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983.
The vegetation surrounding the town is tinder dry and to add to their woes, Lt Carson concedes there hasn’t been a large amount of fuel reduction burns carried out in the area.
“I’m not sure why they haven’t occurred,” he concedes.
Lt Carson says it’s imperative that the town’s 1200 residents are well prepared should fire strike.
The Mallacoota CFA ran sessions at the fire station throughout November with advice on how to organise themselves for what could be a catastrophic fire season.
“There’s been a good turn-up of residents, it’s evident they’re serious about acquiring information in regards to how they should go about preparing for the real possibility of fire,” Lt Carson said.
The CFA informs residents on how to prepare and how they go about conducting a fire plan.
“So if Mallacoota is impacted by a large bushfire, if they have a fire plan, they’ll know what to do,” Lt Carson said.
The CFA has also been stopping by local houses and advising them in regards to fire safety.
Clearing around the house and getting rid of flammable material is a good start.
“One of our main concerns is nothing has happened here for years in respect of fire so they (local residents) might be a bit lackadaisical,” Lt Carson said.
“The ramifications would be severe on the town if fire were to occur, so they need to have a plan.”
Lt Carson said with only two fire trucks in the town, the CFA would find it impossible to get to everyone’s house if the town was threatened.
“It’s an elderly community, so people suffering breathing difficulties and those who are frail should leave the town the day before,” he said.
PICTURED: Secretary of the Mallacoota CFA, Lieutenant Les Carson, says residents need to prepare for fire and have an evacuation plan in place.