News Releases

Update on Black Saturday

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13 Feb 2009
Please read the below update on the tragic Victorian Bushfires.

  • A total of 1831 houses are now destroyed. 7000 people have registered with Red Cross as displaced persons. They are located either with family or friends or at one of the 12 relief centres which are currently housing 2,800 people.
  • Backburning has already commenced and will continue over the weekend. Melburnians can expect to see and smell smoke – please only call 000 if flames are visible. Click to view the MFB advises increased fire appliances activity release.
  • The grass fire at East Ivanhoe yesterday was deliberately lit – houses were threatened, however no property was lost.  MFB reminds all Melburnians that they must remain vigilant as all of the state is vulnerable. Click to view the Fires a Risk to Metropolitan Areas release.
  • Arson investigations are still occurring and a number of suspicious fires have suspects being investigated.  A 39 year old man, who cannot be named, was charged at Morewell Magistrates' Court with one count of arson causing death and one count of intentionally lighting a bushfire. All Victorians are asked to be on alert and report anything they know to Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.
  • When returning to homes people are receiving safety packs (WorkSafe is involved) with masks, gloves and disposable overalls along with written directions of what to look for and how to manage the risk. Issues covered in clued; sewerage and other effluents, disposal of food and other perishables, asbestos etc.
  • Fire risks will start to escalate next Tuesday / Wednesday with the weather starting to warm up again over the weekend.
  • It has been advised that financial assistance is the easiest and best form of donation. So if you’d like to donate please visit: or call 1800 811 700. 

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The Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authority Council (AFAC) recommends monthly testing of smoke alarms to ensure they are working correctly.

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