Volunteer firies shocked by red tape, told to stand down

Caramut CFA volunteers shocked to be told to stand down

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SHOCKED: Members of Caramut's CFA brigade including Geoff Howley are dumbfounded they have been told they can't complete a scheduled roadside burn to protect the community. Picture: Morgan Hancock

SHOCKED: Members of Caramut's CFA brigade including Geoff Howley are dumbfounded they have been told they can't complete a scheduled roadside burn to protect the community. Picture: Morgan Hancock

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Country Fire Authority volunteers trying to make their community safer are angry they have been told to stand down.

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Country Fire Authority volunteers trying to make their community safer are angry they have been told to stand down.

Each year members of the Caramut CFA volunteer their time for several days to burn overgrown vegetation along roadsides.

It's a practice brigade communications officer Geoff Howley has taken part in for more than half a century.

However, when a group of about 15 members showed up on Tuesday to start the job, they were dumbfounded to be told they couldn't proceed.

Mr Howley said the group was advised they could not proceed without four accredited CFA tankers. But he says the brigade has used its own tankers for many years without issue.

"I think it's a real slap in the face for the brigade and it probably means little brigades like Caramut won't be able to do roadside burns."

Mr Howley said the vegetation along the roadsides was about a metre high in some sections.

CFA operations manager Richard Bourke confirmed the volunteers had been told not to proceed. He said the brigade had been issued with a burn plan which stipulated they needed four CFA tankers for the task of burning roadside vegetation.

"This brigade was issued with their burn plans some days prior to today's burn and that has certain requirements that are put in place for the protection of the community," Mr Bourke said.

"It's unfortunate the brigade has misunderstood and as such is unable to perform the roadside burn."

Mr Bourke said the requirement for four CFA tankers had been in place for at least five or six years.

He said the brigade's private tankers did not meet the requirements in the burn plan.

"What have been referred to by Geoff Howley are private units," he said.

"They are most welcome at burns but they don't count as part of the requirement to protect the community."

Mr Bourke said the CFA was working with volunteers to protect communities.

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