THE south-west’s top CFA officer has thanked the tireless efforts of people who have helped curtail the devastating St Patrick’s Day bushfires.
CFA assistant chief officer Rohan Luke says he was “blown away” by the elvel of service from the community.
“While the last few days have been extremely challenging with the sheer number and complexity of fires in both districts five and six, I have been blown away by the level of dedication and work that has been achieved in responding to the South-west fires since Saturday evening,” he said.
“I’d like to take an opportunity to thank firstly our firefighters on the ground, both career and volunteer, for their tireless efforts in protecting life and property, our staff, dedicated and unwavering working in control centres across the region, and for the additional support we’ve received from our neighbouring regions and partner agencies - both in the initial fire fight and in the relief and recovery of our communities in these early days.”
Mr Luke said the ferocity of the fires had shocked even the most experienced of volunteers.
“Over the last few days I have spoken to a number of our members, some of them seasoned veterans, who have commented that the fire scenes they attended on Saturday night were some of the worst they had ever seen,” he said.
“The wind, spread of the fire, fire behaviour and impact on nearby communities made this the most difficult fire fight they had ever experienced.
“In addition to the Terang, Camperdown, Gazette and Garvoc fires, the efforts of our crews in containing the existing fire at Pirron Yallock under severe fire danger conditions was remarkable.”
Mr Luke acknowledged that there was no loss of human life.
“The positive in this is that there has been no loss of life, which given the conditions on the night is an incredible achievement,” he said.
“I can’t commend more highly the work of our crews and our communities in ensuring everyone stayed safe. I would ask everyone to continue to work together to ensure everyone stays safe as our communities recover and rebuild.”