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LODDON MALLEE REGION – MURRAY GOLDFIELDS DISTRICT

Start Date: FRIDAY 28 AUGUST 2020
 
End Date: MONDAY 31 AUGUST 2020   

Forest Fire Management Victoria and CFA advise that the following planned burn will be carried out between Friday 28 August and Monday 31 August 2020 weather conditions permitting: 

Dja Dja Wurrung – Hunter Elmore-Cohuna rail line bushland reserve: Cultural burn, 4 hectares, at Hunter. 

This burn should be completed between 10:00am Friday 28August and 8:00 pm Monday 31 August 2020.

You may see smoke from this burn until Wednesday 2 September 2020.

You may see smoke from this planned burn.

Crews complete boundary fencing works following Upper Murray fires

On-ground assessments to replace or repair damaged boundary fence lines adjoining National Parks and State Forests following last summer’s bushfires are complete. 

Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) recovery teams have assessed 115 fire-affected properties in the Upper Murray Fire District to determine damage to fences as a result of the Walwa fire. 

FFMVic Upper Murray District Manager, Dave Jenson, said: “Since February, our crews have worked tirelessly to complete fencing assessments covering almost 300 kilometres.

“That’s the equivalent distance to driving from Melbourne to Wodonga.”

The assessments were part of the Victorian Government’s Boundary Fencing Program which provided eligible landowners $5000 per kilometre for materials to repair or upgrade fire-affected fences on the public land interface.

Through the program, landowners were given the opportunity to upgrade their boundary fences to make them fire-resistant with concrete posts and better able to exclude pests such as wild dogs. 

“FFMVic crews and contractors have also completed more than 170 kilometres of hazardous tree works near boundary fence lines to reduce the risk to landholders, fencing contractors and BlazeAid volunteers,” Mr Jenson said. 

“We know that clearing and rebuilding fencing that’s been damaged by fire is backbreaking work and to be able to support landholders as they rebuild is extremely pleasing.” 

The Upper Murray fires were started by lighting on 29 December 2019 and burnt approximately 226,000-hectares of public and private land. 

All on-ground recovery works comply with DHHS requirements to prioritise the safety of our staff and the Victorian community. 

For further information regarding this program contact FFMVic on (02) 6071 5359 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

To find out about other assistance available to landowners please visit: www.vic.gov.au/bushfire-recovery-victoria  

Brittany Evans |Regional Media and Communications Adviser | Hume Region

Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning

Spring swooping season takes flight  

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is reminding Victorians that with spring in the air, so too are swooping birds.

Native birds swoop humans (and their dogs) to defend their young for the 6-8 weeks between when they hatch and when they leave the nest. DELWP has received reports of birds such as magpies and masked lapwings swooping at locations around Gippsland. 

DELWP Senior Wildlife Management Officer, Lachlan Clarke, said: “Swooping occurs every year during breeding season and is largely a defensive manoeuvre. For some species, including magpies, this is carried out primarily by males; swooping birds account for less than 10 per cent of the population. 

“Being swooped by a territorial bird is no fun, but this is just normal bird behaviour. The best way to avoid being swooped is to avoid the area all together, though this isn't always possible.

“If you do end up in an area where there is a swooping bird, try to protect your head and eyes and move quickly through the area without running,” said Mr Clarke. 

Tips to avoid being swooped:

  • Know your local swooping hotspots
  • Avoid the area
  • Move quickly, but do not run
  • Cover your head with a hat, helmet or umbrella and consider drawing a pair of ‘eyes’ on the back of your hat or helmet
  • Do not harass or feed wildlife 

To report a swooping incident by any species of bird, mark its location on Victoria's swooping bird map, visit delwp.vic.gov.au/environment-and-wildlife/wildlife/swooping-birds 

Magpies and other native birds are protected in Victoria under the Wildlife Act 1975. Under the Act, it is an offence to kill, take, control or harm wildlife in Victoria. Penalties apply to those found in breach. 

As much as you can, you must stay at home. When you leave home, you must use a face covering, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. Visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au for more information.

Michelle Kearns | Regional Media and Communications Advisor, Gippsland

Forest, Fire and Regions | Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning

The Little River Gorge in the Snowy River National Park in East Gippsland is the only known natural habitat for Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies in Victoria. 

In the 1990s it was estimated there were between six and 10 individuals left in the gorge – there are now 52, but this endangered species still needs help to survive and thrive. 

Several organisations have been working together over the past 20 years to increase the genetic diversity and resilience of the population in this remote part of East Gippsland, with renewed effort after the fires. 

Staff from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) are working with Parks Victoria, Zoos Victoria, Mount Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, University of Melbourne and the ACT Government on a captive breeding program to improve the genetics of Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies. 

DELWP Natural Environment Progams Officer, Willow Bourke said: “This year’s fires affected some of the wallabies’ key habitat, with high intensity fire reaching the top of the gorge mainly on the western side and into some of their feeding grounds.

“The rocky habitat where they live can limit the spread of fire and probably helped to protect them this year, but open burnt areas have increased accessibility to predators such as foxes which are one of the main threats to this species,” Ms Bourke said.

“The Southern Ark Program and Parks Victoria continue to carry out fox control through baiting around the colony and along the Snowy River corridor to protect the wallabies. 

“Annual camera monitoring shows us which wallabies are where and how they’re faring, and results from this autumn’s monitoring are encouraging. 

“Two young captive-bred males that were released into gorge last September remain in the same area. Targeted camera surveillance shows they have survived nine months in the wild. We’re hoping these males will be able to breed and introduce new genetics into the wild population. 

“DELWP and Parks Victoria staff recently visited the Mount Rothwell Biodiversity Interpretation Centre to assist with trapping of Southern Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies that will have health checks and DNA samples taken. 

“The best individuals will then be chosen to bolster the Little River Gorge population. 

“We’re aiming to release four males and two females in late August or early September 2020 and we’ll watch their progress through remote camera monitoring over the coming months.” 

Rachel Dawkins |Media and Communications Adviser| Gippsland

The remarkable Aboriginal cultural landscape of the Grampians continues to be revealed, with recent rediscoveries in the national park being added to the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register at Bundaleer, Spurt Wall and Taipan Wall.  

The park’s values are protected by legislation, including the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 under which significant financial penalties apply for harm caused to Aboriginal cultural heritage.

The recent rediscoveries were made during park assessments with Traditional Owners, as part of the process to develop a new management plan for the Grampians landscape. The assessments revealed ancient cultural material, including multiple quarry sites – places where Aboriginal people took stone from rocky outcrops to make tools for different purposes.

Concentrations of stone tools, archaeological deposits within rock shelters and, unusually, an ochre deposit are also present. Ochre is used for painting and decorative purposes, and along with other materials confirm the connections that Traditional Owners have to land they have cared for tens of thousands of year.

Assessments also identified soil compaction and vegetation damage was evident in the area.

New cultural heritage protection zones

With the popular rock-climbing areas Taipan Wall, Spurt Wall and Bundaleer located within these Aboriginal cultural places, Parks Victoria has hosted a meeting with rock climbing representatives to discuss the need for immediate protections. 

These include protection zones and signage so that people don’t inadvertently enter the areas and cause harm.

The protection zone areas used for bushwalking and rock climbing, while other sections currently remain open to the public. A long-term approach to protecting these places will be determined by a new management plan, a draft of which is expected to be released for further public consultation later this year.

We know that these protection zones extend across highly regarded climbing areas. In preparation for this announcement, Traditional Owners invited Parks Victoria and the Gariwerd Wimmera Reconciliation Network to visit the area to discuss the cultural and environmental values present and how recreation is undertaken there.

We will continue to consult with climbers and hope we can work together to protect and celebrate these unique rediscoveries.

Further information about these protection zones, including maps, is available here: 

https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/-/media/project/pv/main/parks/documents/plans-and-projects/gariwerd-protections-information-sheet---aug2020.pdf

The vast majority of Victoria’s parks and reserves contain Aboriginal cultural heritage, the full extent of which is still being understood. In the broader Gariwerd landscape, in addition to rock art, Aboriginal places include burials, mounds, stone arrangements, freshwater middens, rock quarries, artefact scatters, archaeological layers and scar trees, and larger areas that also include intangible values such as creation stories. 

Traditional Owners of the Grampians region are represented by Barengi Gadjin Land Council, Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, and Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation. Together, they form a Strategic Partnership Committee of Traditional Owners.

Please note: Some parts of the Grampians National Park are currently closed as part of current public health measures to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), while others are open to local residents for the purpose of exercise if it is their closest park.

Visitors are reminded to stay safe by washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering when you leave home, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, keeping at least 1.5 metres from others and staying home if you feel unwell.

We thank you for your continued interest in the future of the Greater Gariwerd landscape.

Kind regards, 

Parks Victoria

LODDON MALLEE REGION – MURRAY GOLDFIELDS DISTRICT 

Start Date: FRIDAY 14 AUGUST 2020
 
End Date: SUNDAY 16 AUGUST 2020   

Forest Fire Management Victoria and CFA advise that the following planned burn will be carried out between Friday 14 August and Sunday 16 August 2020 weather conditions permitting: 

Dja Dja Wurrung - Lake Boort: Cultural burn, 24 hectares, in Boort Township.

This burn should be completed between 10:00am Friday 14 August and 8:00 pm Sunday 16 August 2020. 

You may see smoke from this burn until Wednesday 19 August 2020. 

You may see smoke from this planned burn. 

Smoke may be visible from: Boort

What to do about:

SMOKE

  • If you are experiencing any symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure, the Department of Health and Human Services advises that you should seek medical advice or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024
  • Close windows and doors to prevent smoke from entering.

ROADS

  • Road travel may be hazardous due to low visibility associated with smoke
  • Signs may be in place to slow traffic. Obey all traffic signs and instructions from fire agency crews near the burn
  • For travel times and roadworks check http://traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au.

ACCESS TO FOREST/PARK RECREATION SITES

  • Be aware of planned burns happening in your local area and stay clear of areas where burns are taking place or areas that have recently been burnt
  • Access to walking tracks, car parks, camping grounds and picnic sites in areas close to or in burn areas may be restricted.

For parks closures, please refer to Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or visit http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/

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LODDON MALLEE REGION – MURRAY GOLDFIELDS DISTRICT 

Start Date: THURSDAY 13 AUGUST 2020 
End Date: FRIDAY 14 AUGUST 2020   

Forest Fire Management Victoria and CFA advise that the following planned burn will be carried out between Thursday 13 August and Friday 14 August weather conditions permitting: 

DDW Mysia- Old Boort Rd: Cultural burn, 7.6 hectares, 2.9 kilometres south west of Mysia.

This burn should be completed between 10:00am Thursday 13 August and 8:00 pm Friday 14 August 2020.

You may see smoke from this burn until Friday 14 August 2020.

You may see smoke from this planned burn.

Smoke may be visible from: Mysia and Borung

What to do about:

SMOKE

  • If you are experiencing any symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure, the Department of Health and Human Services advises that you should seek medical advice or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024
  • Close windows and doors to prevent smoke from entering.

ROADS

  • Road travel may be hazardous due to low visibility associated with smoke
  • Signs may be in place to slow traffic. Obey all traffic signs and instructions from fire agency crews near the burn
  • For travel times and roadworks check http://traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au.

ACCESS TO FOREST/PARK RECREATION SITES

  • Be aware of planned burns happening in your local area and stay clear of areas where burns are taking place or areas that have recently been burnt
  • Access to walking tracks, car parks, camping grounds and picnic sites in areas close to or in burn areas may be restricted.

For parks closures, please refer to Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or visit http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/

 

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update 

The Victorian Government has announced a number of changes to restrictions for Melbourne and regional Victoria.

For metropolitan Melbourne, changed restrictions take effect from 6pm, Sunday 2 August. 

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August, Stage 3 restrictions apply in regional Victoria, including Mitchell Shire. 

From 11:59pm on Sunday 2 August, face coverings are mandatory for all of Victoria. 

The changed restrictions mean Licenced Tour Operators must cease operating on Parks Victoria managed land while the restrictions are in place. 

Please familiarise yourself with the latest information at: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au  

Parks Victoria has also closed some popular visitor sites for public safety. You can find the most up-to-date list of closed areas on our website at: https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/get-into-nature/safety-in-nature/covid-19-update 

Physical distancing directions remain in parks that are open. 

All Victorians should stay safe by washing your hands, keeping your distance from others and staying home if you feel unwell. 

What are the penalties for not following the restrictions?

Victoria Police can issue on the spot fines of up to $4,957 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses for: 

  • Refusing or failing to comply with the emergency directions;  
  • Refusing or failing to comply with a public health risk power direction 
  • Refusing or failing to comply with a direction by the Chief Health Officer to provide information.

Fines of up to $20,000 for individuals and $100,0000 for businesses are possible through the court system. 

Conditions in parks can change quickly. Please always check Parks Victoria’s website www.parks.vic.gov.au and the change of conditions and closures page before visiting parks.  

 

 

Applications open for Project Firefighters in Gippsland & Hume Regions

 Recruitment is underway for new Project Firefighters (PFFs) who want to play a part in keeping their communities safe this upcoming bushfire season.

Deputy Chief Fire Officers say,  “Now more than ever, people understand how vital our Project Firefighters are in protecting their communities and the environment.

“We’re looking for people from all walks of life and backgrounds to join Forest Fire Management Victoria over the summer season to help us with bushfire prevention and suppression in Gippsland ahd Hume parks and forests.” 

There are approximately 30 positions available in Gippsland region and 20 in Hume region for general firefighters and fire support officers. A number of positions have also been identified for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

“Project Firefighters are on the frontline fighting bushfires, conducting planned burns, managing roadside vegetation, maintaining access to fire trails and roads and supporting other emergency work,” 

“No two days are the same and this is a great opportunity to learn new skills and be part of a diverse and inclusive team that helps protect our communities. 

“Successful recruits receive comprehensive training and get the opportunity to work with experienced personnel from a range of fire management agencies. Many past PFFs have gone on to rewarding careers in permanent roles within the department.

Project Firefighters are based at more than 80 locations throughout the state, adding to the existing workforce of 300 firefighters currently on three-year contracts. 

Once recruitment is complete, we will have more than 1,000 frontline forest firefighters trained and ready for this coming season, with 600 PFFs and 340 permanent Forest Fire Operations Officers. 

Crews will be supported by a further 2000 staff from across the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and VicForests who have a fire role in addition to their normal duties. 

“These roles will help deliver our Safer Together program and ensure we work with regional communities to deliver the best outcomes for the community," 

Employment is full-time for a period of up to 26 weeks, generally starting between November and April. Applications for Project Firefighters are open from Friday 31 July and close on Sunday 23rd August. For further information and to apply visit www.ffm.vic.gov.au or call 136 186.