New bushfire preparation and recovery manual takes lessons from Black Summer 2019-20

Beef Central, 13/09/2023

Image – Kiewa Fire Brigade.

AHEAD of this year’s summer bushfire season, a new resource has been created to help livestock producers prepare for, and recover from fire events.

The new manual called Bushfire preparation and recovery: A manual for livestock producers reinforces the fact that bushfire preparation needs to occur more than once a year or just at the start of summer.

Dr Michael Laurence, Program Manager of Animal Wellbeing at MLA said it was essential for producers to ensure they were ‘bushfire ready’ every summer.  “The best way to prepare for fire is to do a reasonable amount of work regularly, throughout the year, every year,” he said.

“This manual aims to help producers to achieve that by noting a step-by-step approach to planning for fire and handling an encroaching fire.”

The manual incorporates lessons from the Black Summer bushfires of 2019–20, which deeply affected producers and had a significant impact on the agricultural community, with thousands of farms affected by losses of livestock, land and property.

The manual includes a template to help producers create a farm fire plan for their property. It also details practical, implementable steps producers can take for year-round fire preparation and planning.

The manual provides key information for what to do when a bushfire is approaching a property, including organising emergency feed and evacuating livestock to a safe refuge area.

Dr Laurence noted that compared with producers who are unprepared, “those who have a farm fire plan and appropriate equipment and training lose fewer livestock or suffer less infrastructure damage and can get back to business sooner after a fire.”

In addition to the Bushfire manual, a Bushfire hub has been created on the MLA website which includes the manual, videos and support services to help producers prepare and recover from a bushfire.

The Bushfire manual was developed by MLA alongside Ausvet, The University of Sydney and The University of Melbourne.


Source: MLA







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  1. Peter F Dunn, 13/09/2023

    The endnote “Source: MLA”, caused me to read this report a second time.
    Up front, I must declare that I have not read the new manual, but clearly, I will.
    The report mentions ” creating a farm plan”, “what to do when a bushfire is approaching” and help to “recover from fire events”. All excellent areas for farmers to focus on “throughout the year, every year”.
    The reason I read the report a second time was to look for a mention of ‘prevention’, in the irrefutable context that prevention is better than cure.
    Given the advice that the manual incorporates lessons from the Black Summer bushfires, hopefully there will be some mention of prevention by way of expanded fuel load reduction activity.
    Let us not have a repeat of the Black Summer bushfire experience, where certain fire industry leaders, who mostly had presided over almost a decade of fire load neglect in respective jurisdictions, became media stars and, blaming the ‘unprecedented conditions’, were feted as community heroes.
    That lesson from the Black Summer bushfires was a particularly hard lesson for the many with an extensive history in the industry, and who then knew, and still know, better.

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