Bushfire Information 2020

Smoke over Ferntree Gully Cemetery. Photo by Graham Crichton.

It is important that residents source consistent information to ensure there’s no confusion, especially in relation to such crucial issues as bushfire.

Residents who are eager to have localised, specific information and warnings regarding their local area (both within and outside Bushfire Management Overlay or bushfire-prone areas) can download the VicEmergency app.

VicEmergency maintains up-to-date warning information including Watch and Act, Advice, Evacuate Now orders etc, localised to the ‘watch zones’ you set personally. It will advise about all sorts of risks including fires, ember attacks, air quality and so on. This might support people in communities such as Ferntree Gully which can sometimes feel that the information for high-risk areas, rural areas etc, doesn’t quite apply.

You can download the VicEmergency app from:

The CFA also has some information on the VicEmergency App on its website.

Photo: Strike team by Justin Stackpole

Message from Graham Crichton, Ferntree Gully CFA

The bushfire season has hit Australians very hard. As I am writing this article, we are in the midst of one of Australia’s worst fire seasons. East Gippsland is suffering very badly.

Ferntree Gully Volunteer CFA firefighters have been involved from the start. Our members have been part of strike teams working in Queensland, New South Wales and now East Gippsland. During the whole of this time, we have maintained members to crew each of our four firefighting vehicles. Our pumper, heavy tanker, big Fill, and slip-on have always been available when called upon to protect Ferntree Gully and surrounding areas.

Brigade and Community assistance for East Gippsland farmers who have suffered drought and fire

Our brigade has collected and distributed over 85 pallets of canned, bottled and ‘long-life’ food, as well as water and toiletries for those struggling in East Gippsland. Queues of community-minded people delivered an enormous amount of the above requirements showing just how generous and supportive Australians are in a time of crisis.

Brigade members spent hundreds of hours sorting and boxing donations to be packed on pallets to be transported by trucks to the fire areas. Transport to East Gippsland Farmers’ Relief was donated by Mainfreight, E and S Trading and other organisations. Boxes were
supplied by EDMI, and several pallets of toiletries by Natures Organics in FTG. Numerous other local businesses including Barry Plant at Boronia assisted us. We would like to thank all our supporters for their generosity.

Gas fired BBQs continue to be a real problem

Already this summer, Ferntree Gully CFA and our other Knox Group brigades have experienced many fire calls to gas BBQ fires. Such fires can be very serious as the BBQs are often situated on patios or verandahs. Fires can then rapidly spread to the entire house and property.

Gas BBQ fires are preventable fires!

Before lighting any gas BBQ

  • Check the connections with a soapy water spray. Keep the spray bottle with your BBQ so that you can use it each time the BBQ is used. If gas is escaping, bubbles will be seen. Make sure the connections are tightened and check again. If gas still escapes, do not use the BBQ.
  • Visually check gas hoses and O ring seals. They will harden and crack with age. They need to be maintained and seals replaced at regular intervals.
  • Inspect the gas bottle and if damaged, replace it.
  • Always clean the BBQ after use while the fat is more easily removed. BBQs caked in fat are more likely to catch fire.
  • As with any cooking, never leave it unattended.

Gas BBQs are like any piece of equipment, they need to be maintained for efficient and safe use. Gas will escape from cracked hoses, seals and loose fittings if it gets a chance. It will then ignite and fire will spread uncontrollably over the BBQ. The likelihood is that it will then engulf the surrounding structure. Google CFA BBQ Safety for more information.

Understanding your risk during the bush and grass fire season

By the time you read this article, FTG CFA will have held Community Bushfire meetings at the top of Olivebank Road and at Koolunga Reserve. More could be held at short notice if necessary. Always watch our Facebook page for such information.

Ferntree Gully has over 600 homes in the Ferntree Gully CFA Bushfire Management Overlay (BMO) area. Our neighbouring areas also have hundreds of homes and properties in their BMO areas. It is imperative that all residents living in or near these areas, have a well known and practised bushfire plan which involves every member of the family, including pets.

Have a good look at the area that you live in with the map here, and ask yourself whether or not bushfire could ravage your area.

Graham Crichton

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