WIMMERA residents and emergency service personnel have shared expertise and personal insights about bushfire management as the region approaches the summer fire period.
The Grampians Fire Conference at Laharum on Wednesday included presentations and site visits with Laharum’s Australian Flowers’ business owner Jo Gardner and Laharum Grove owner Deirdre Baum.
The Black Range and Northern Grampians fires in 2014 razed parts of both businesses.
About 100 representatives from Forest Fire Management Victoria, the Country Fire Authority, police, councils, water authorities and the community attended the 28th annual event.
Forest Fire Management Victoria Wimmera district manager Glenn Rudolph said the conference aimed to collect knowledge and gauge community values.
“’Safer Together’ was the overarching theme and focus for the conference,” he said.
“It is a dynamic bushfire management approach that is proving more effective in reducing bushfire risk.
“By bringing together the expertise of our land and fire managers with the knowledge of local communities and what they value, successful partnerships are established that strengthen communities before, during and after bushfires.
“The conferences have a deliberate focus on better decision-making, with the community as a central partner in emergency management.”
Mr Rudolph said teamwork between agencies and community was vital during the fire season.
He said the introduction of site visits to this year’s program helped illustrate this.
“We visited several sites affected by the 2014 Northern Grampians bushfires, including Mt Stapylton walking track and campground to better understand the impacts and ongoing recovery efforts three years on,” he said.
Mr Rudolph said representatives also discussed planned burn opportunities for spring.