6. Responses have increased my concern
1-DELWP’s own ” ﬁre expert” Kevin Tolhurst has stated to me in an email that: an intense fire could occur on Haining farm … it would also contribute more embers downwind. This would be more of an issue for the areas west of Yarra Junction rather than Don Valley.
What this means is that there is a risk to a surrounding town, which goes against the statement of Minister D’Ambrosio.
2- CFA FOI shows concerns for surrounding towns especially Yarra Junction/Launching Place/Milners Hill & Gladysdale.
Haining Farm sits between the 3 major escape routes for the people, not only of Don Valley, but of the entire Upper Yarra Valley (around 15 thousand people) Warburton Hwy lies 400m to the South – the main exit for the valley (To Eastern suburbs).
A ﬁre at Haining, whether it started there or was ignited by embers from further aﬁeld, could block these escape routes with potentially disastrous results.
3- Regional Director of Port Phillip Kelly Crosthwaite reply to my query of K. Tolhurst response above: “a ﬁre within Haining farm would be contained by local ﬁreﬁghters relatively quickly”. DELWP must model risk for when a ﬁre is not contained.
Australia has a long history of ﬁres not being contained. Emergency services resources are for all Victorians not just for Haining Farm. Yet the assumption is that:
- services will always be at hand, and that
- the facilities they need will always be maintained, regardless that this is not done at YCA.
7. Wind Change
We highlighted the omission of the very important and common feature of “ﬁre weather” in southern Australia – the afternoon wind change where the wind swings around from North/ North-westerly to South/South-westerly. In this situation “the built up” area of Don Valley would be directly impacted.
On Black Saturday Flowerdale, Kinglake West, Kinglake and other communities to the north of the ﬁre’s initial path were destroyed. These Communities would have been spared the devastation but for the wind change.
Kelly Crosthwaite replied that: “The effect of the wind change is very signiﬁcant, but the effect of revegetating Haining Farm did not change the already severe impact of the wind change”. How such a signiﬁcant feature of ﬁre weather does not rate a discussion in the risk assessment shows how “change of risk” has been drowned out.
I can’t think of anything more serious than protection of human life. It took twelve months for us to get a copy of the fire report and then we have no time to question it.
We need an independent expert – not one who is regularly engaged with DELWP, not one whose software they use – to communicate to us what the risk is in total: both “landscape” and “local” risk. Phoenix Simulator only has one part of the picture, not the total risk that we inhabit. Landscape level risk misrepresents the actual change in risk.
The risk model is not capable of quantifying the local risk, including the housing with one way streets across from Haining Farm, and the sensitivity of the location as central to the Yarra Valley escape routes. These local factors have not been included.
I feel anger and sadness having lived through what is at stake here: after the devastation of a bush fire there are suicides, depression, domestic violence, childhood trauma.
Take the emotional side away and you are left with a bunch of highly trained professionals that don’t question anything. The faith in fire simulators which have been described as ‘truth machines’ is frightening. The simulator results are only as good as the data that goes into it which has been highly selective and it doesn’t provide the whole picture: experience and local knowledge must be heard and included not ignored.
Sadly, l have lost conﬁdence of the goodwill to increase the species when there has been individuals that have invested a lot time and care however without funding being directed to the right projects and failures being repeated time after time, we may see a further decline in both species.
So YCA is being rewarded for their failures. This needs to be talked about “yesterday”, but no one does. Conservation groups need to be held to account as well, as if not the project becomes how to secure more of the funding pie. Sorry this may seem harsh but over the past 3 years it has become apparent this is a big motivation to secure Haining Farm even with its ﬁre risks.
We have brought up a small amount of a larger amount of problems with the fire report. This is a big issue that needs to be Investigated in depth and an urgent change in policy and culture to make it easier for all Victorian People to get answers to their Fire Safety.
As a mother of four – I have become a reluctant Activist demanding that our Government and Fire Authorities make Protection of human life an urgent priority.
Daniel Andrews our Community calls on you to Urgently STOP this before the bushﬁre threat to our community increases – with catastrophic consequences!
Haining Farm is due to be planted out spring 2018 even with unanswered questions over our Fire Safety.
Help us make Fire Safety a Priority in Victoria – Share this blog with friends and family and if you’ve got more time forward this blog to the emails below
With a simple message – STOP the planting of Haining Farm. We call for a URGENT independent investigation into DELWP’s Fire Report.
email@example.com. ( New Commissioner of Emergency Services )
This is alot to take in l know ! – By making this information public DELWP must be questioned on why they are NOT being transparent about the real risk to our community family and friends .l have stepped way outside my comfort zone to make this an Urgent issue that can not be ignored any longer as in 2 mins this blog will be live. We deserve answers to our safety now.
From our family to yours we dearly Thank you for taking an interest, with what is a very serious issue that can not be ignored any longer .
Bronwyn and Family