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South-West Fires 2018

Fire situation

Smoke will continue to be visible from nearby communities and roads, this is not related to increased fire activity, however it could relate to burning peat across a number of locations within the fire area. Peat fires smoulder for a longer time. A fact sheet is available on the DHHS website with details about peatfire smoke.

For the latest warnings and advice on fires in Victoria, general fire safety advice or recovery information, go to the VicEmergency website, download the app, or call the VicEmergency Hotline on freecall 1800 226 226. Callers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech/communication impairment can call VicEmergency via the National relay Service on 1800 555 677.

You can also follow VicEmergency on Facebook and Twitter or listen to ABC Local Radio.

Help with livestock

Agriculture Victoria livestock teams are in the field helping with damage and loss assessments, identifying urgent needs and connecting farmers with recovery programs. To contact one the teams, call 5336 6721.

For help managing other fire recovery issues, such as erosion, weeds, re-establishing pasture, and securing water supplies, call Agriculture Victoria on 136 186.

If you need fodder for your livestock, contact Victorian Farmers Federation on 1300 882 833.

For help disposing of dead livestock, contact Southern Grampians Shire Council on 5573 0444.

Pasture Recovery Advice

One-on-one pasture recovery advice is now available to assist landholders affected by the March fires.

Through this new service, extension officers from Agriculture Victoria and WestVic Dairy will provide tailored information about:
• The impact of fire on your pasture
• How your pasture might respond to an autumn break
• How you can best plan for getting pastures back into production

Fires can have a drastic effect on a pasture. It can change the composition of the pastures and lead to a reduction in the growth and carrying capacity of the pasture in the following season. Fire changes pastures in different ways depending on the intensity of the fire, the pasture species present, the fertility of the soil, the time of the autumn break and follow up rains.

To speak to an extension officer about your situation and or to organise a free visit please contact:

Agriculture Victoria
Michele Jolliffe on 0428 581 883.
WestVic Dairy
Helen Chenoweth on (03) 5557 1000.

Detailed information about recovering from fire, including a pasture recovery quick reference guide, is also available at

Personal Well-being

If you or someone you know is in need of emotional and social wellbeing support, call one of the following numbers.

• beyondblue – 24hrs, 7 days a week – 1300 224 636

• Lifeline – 24hrs a day, 7 days a week – 13 11 14

• Kids Helpline – 24hrs, 7 days a week – 1800 55 1800

The Department of Human Services also offers a range of support services

Financial support

The Department of Heath and Human Services Personal Hardship Assistance Program provides financial assistance for eligible Victorians struggling as a result of an emergency.

Emergency grants are also available to help community members meet immediate needs, including emergency food, shelter, clothing and personal items. Please call VicEmergency on 1800 226 226 for more information.


South West Victorian Bushfire Appeal
Funds raised will be distributed to charitable organisations working with communities that are directly impacted by recent fires.
Donate at your nearest Bendigo Bank branch or online.

Rotary International Bushfire Appeal
Account: Rotary International District 9780 - Bushfire Appeal
BSB: 035 070
Account: 179 149

BlazeAid - To offer assistance with building fences

Feed and fodder for livestock, please contact the Victorian Farmers Federation on 1300 882 833 or visit

Personal or household items such as clothing and toiletries, please contact local charities or The Salvation Army. Please note that these items cannot be accepted at Relief Centres.

If you want to donate your labour, expertise or services please contact Southern Grampians Shire Council on 5573 0444.


If you use a private drinking water source, you should be aware that your it could be contaminated with debris, ash, fire retardants or dead animals.

If your water looks, smells or tastes unusual, then it is likely to be contaminated. Do not use the water for drinking or food preparation, and do not give it to animals.

Water that is not suitable for drinking can still be used on the garden. Water testing is not necessary, as contamination is easily identified by a change in taste, smell or clarity.

Debris or dead animals on your roof or in the gutters should be removed. Use gloves and place in a plastic bag for disposal.

Your tank water should be disinfected before re-using.

If the water in your tank has not been contaminated, the water should be safe to use. However, do not reconnect
your downpipes until your roof has been cleaned.

Only clean the ash and debris from your roof and gutters when it is safe to do so.

If your tank needs cleaning, it is recommended that you contact a specialist contractor, as working in a
confined space is dangerous.

For more information visit Bushfire and Water Tanks

Hazardous Materials

Houses, sheds and other buildings or structures burnt in a bushfire can leave potential health hazards. These may include fallen or sharp objects, smouldering coals, damaged electrical wires, leaking gas and weakened walls.

When returning to your property, make sure you are aware of the dangers and take steps to protect your health and safety. Hazardous materials that may be present after a bushfire include:
• asbestos
• ashes, especially from burnt treated timbers (such as copper chrome arsenate or ‘CCA’)
• LPG gas cylinders
• medication
• garden chemicals
• farm chemicals
• other general chemicals (for example, cleaning products)
• metal and other residues from burnt household appliances
• dust.

It is unsafe to spread ash around your property, particularly if asbestos materials were used in your home or other structures, or if CCA-treated timber was burnt. It is also unsafe to disturb the dust when walking around your property.

Make sure you wear protective clothing before entering your property, including:
- Wear sturdy footwear and heavy-duty work gloves.
- Wear disposable overalls, with long sleeves and trousers.
- Wear a P2 face mask (P2 face masks are sometimes referred to as N95 masks).
- When leaving the property, dispose of gloves, coveralls and face masks into a garbage bag.
- Wash your hands after removing contaminate clothing . Shoes should be cleaned before being worn again.

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