Fire risk call at Mount Warrenheip

Risk: The Mt Warrenheip fire in February 2013. Joshua Morris says residents are concerned fuel has built up again. PICTURE: Adam TraffordWhile the Ballarat region is still looking at the aftermath of recent devastating fires at Scotsburn, the consequences of the 2013 Warrenheip fire are still clear and possibly posing arisk.
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The February 2013 blaze left dead trees close to powerlines and there is community concern over them coming down on to powerlines.

Western Region Upper House MP Joshua Morris said he had met with members of the Warrenheip community over the issue.

“There’s a significant risk there that needs to be addressed,” he said.

“What’s happened is a lot of the these dead trees are very close to the overhead powerlines that power the two telecommunications towers up there. It’s only a matter of time before these dead trees come down on this powerline.”

In 2013, the fire came close to Kryal Castle, and Mr Morris said it could come under bushfire risk again if Parks Victoria did not address it.

Additionally, he said the overgrown undergrowth was a fire risk in itself.

“There’s been a significant increase in the undergrowth,” he said.

Mr Morris said he had sent a letter to Environment Minister Lisa Neville bringing her attention to the problem.

A government spokeswoman said Parks Victoria had patrolled the area last week, and that the operators of the telecommunications towers were responsible for the upkeep of linked infrastructure.

The Courierunderstands fuel build-up is a concern in several CFA areas in the region, especially on road-sides.

In Buninyong, there is concern over the roadside fuel loads, in some partdue to protections on areas listed as having “high conservation value”.

One area, raised bysomeone knowledgeable of the risk who did not want to named, was Moss Avenue in Buninyong.

A City of Ballarat spokeswoman said the council had not been told of worry over fuel in that specific street.

“The City of Ballarat is not aware of “concern over the greater risk…from built up fuel” along Moss Avenue in Buninyong,” she said.

“Moss Avenue is a roadside vegetation area of high conservation value as determined by various state and federal acts.”

“On occasion, fuel reduction burning is an option in roadside vegetation areas of high conservation value and this is coordinated by the CFA,” she said.

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