The advertisements on the television promoting ‘being fire ready’ contradicts the actual reality.
It is of great concern that the current restrictions put in place by the CFA headquarters is restricting brigades and individuals from achieving fuel reduction when weather and environmental conditions permit.
In the past, Longwood Fire Brigade has always prided themselves for being at the ready, to go anywhere at any time in the state and beyond, to assist other communities.
Longwood CFA members have been able to achieve this by making the Longwood township safer by reducing the fuel load around the town boundary and within, knowing that their family and property are secure and reasonably safe in the event of a fire.
This has becoming increasingly difficult, however, because of the restrictions that have been placed on us by CFA headquarters.
In recent years, fire restrictions have been introduced earlier, well before burning-off can be undertaken in this area.
Permits have not even been issued in some years.
This year, permits were issued for two weeks, but were withdrawn when it was almost dry enough to burn firebreaks.
The three main thoroughfares within the Shire of Strathbogie (Hume Fwy, Goulburn Valley Hwy and the Sydney to Melbourne Railway) all have extremely high fuel loads.
Higher fuel load equates to greater risk of fires burning out of control.
However, it seems no-one is prepared to take responsibility for this potential disaster.
If fuel reduction was undertaken then this could provide significant fire control measures for the area.
Is it a case of sitting on your hands, doing nothing, while the fuel load increases so we have bigger fires so the CFA gets more funding from the government?
Is this what we really want?
Is this the vicious cycle we are in?
NSW and Queensland have experienced shocking fires so far this year.
Instead of holding our breath and hoping for the best on the Code Red Days such as November 21, we prefer to be fire ready and meet the challenges facing rural Australians each summer.
Let us become proactive and more prepared in Victoria.
We would then have some peace of mind knowing that we have done our utmost to prepare for the worst.
Richard and Jenny Naughton, Longwood and John Nissan, Locksley