The Melbourne suburbs at risk of bushfire
Suburbs less than 10 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD have been identified as bushfire risks.
As devastating bushfires rage through NSW and Queensland and Victorians brace for another long, hot fire season, tens of thousands of people living in suburban and urban areas are unaware they could be at risk.
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade has identified suburbs less than 10 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD as bushfire danger zones.
Fire experts warn that urban residents living in fire-prone areas including Fairfield, Sandringham and Mount Waverley need to be as vigilant as regional Victorians in the lead-up to this fire season, and should prepare a proper fire plan.
The MFB says parkland, river reserves and wooded beachfronts pose a risk for residents in urban areas. It has identified 29 Melbourne suburbs that could be at risk. For example, Fairfield, just eight kilometres from the CBD, is at risk of a bushfire in Yarra Bend Park, while Beaumaris residents face four potential fire sources, including Ricketts Point coastline and Balcombe Park.
Wheelers Hill residents had a reminder of urban fire dangers last month when a large grass and scrub fire in Jells Park needed firefighting aircraft to help extinguish the blaze.
Police and emergency services minister Lisa Neville has warned that Victoria faces a “long, hot and dry fire season”. She says, “Our firefighters can’t do this alone. Every single one of us has a responsibility to plan and prepare for fire.”
The state government has launched its ‘How well do you know fire’ campaign urging people to prepare for the fire season and to download the VicEmergency app to get emergency information and warnings.
Professor Alan March, a University of Melbourne disaster risk-reduction expert says residents should prepare their property and a fire plan before summer.
He says Melbourne’s urban sprawl has seen houses spring up next to farmland and protected habitat, with the risk of unpredictable, fast-running grassfires. In addition, some suburbs have substantial parks that pose a risk, while others can come under “ember attack” from fires many kilometres away.