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Bushfire Risk Reduction Works Timetable

To all Lessees and Stakeholders

Dear All,

Once again it’s time to consider the lessons learned during the 2003 bushfires and to minimise the risks that we all face at Mount Hotham. The Mount Hotham Resort Management Board seeks the co-operation of all Mount Hotham Lessees and Stakeholders in bushfire hazard risk reduction for all properties throughout the village.

As was learned in the course of the risk assessment by the CFA during November/December 2002 the key issues that can be successfully addressed at Mount Hotham are fine fuel buildup and ember attack. Fine fuels (less than 6mm-dia. dry material) are materials that will most readily combust and so play a key role in bushfire ignition and spread/severity. By reducing fine fuels to no more than a single layer on the ground their combustibility and total fuel load is greatly reduced.

We should endeavour to maintain ground cover at all times either in the form of live plant material, rock or paving. This is so as to help preserve the thin topsoil layer thereby minimising sediment transport and stream siltation in the event of heavy rainfall. Equally as important is the maintenance of a closed building envelope with no nooks or crannies in which embers might lodge and eventually set fire to the building structure.

This means:

  • roofs should be tightly flashed
  • valleys or areas where fine fuels may lodge must be regularly cleared
  • eaves must be closed or have fine wire screens in place
  • vents must have fine wire screens in place
  • windows must be tightly closed, shuttered or have fine wire screens
  • no ledges should exist where embers may lodge under flammable materials
  • wooden decks must have no flammable material underneath them
  • walls/footings should be constructed of non-flammable materials for the first metre
  • no opening should exist anywhere below floor level unless it is completely screened
  • no building materials or firewood should be stacked against exterior walls or anywhere that they may constitute a fire hazard

Bushfire risk reduction works timetable.

Bushfire risk reduction works should be undertaken prior to the high hazard period of the summer. Given the lateness of spring 2004 (snow or rain has fallen every day of November and is forecast to continue) the Resort Management Board has set the weekend of December 11th and 12th as the time to kick off the works for this summer.

Mount Hotham Resort Management Board staff will once again assist lessees and stakeholders with their property bushfire risk reduction works by being on hand to answer queries and assist with information and advice on stockpile sites. Fine fuels will be stockpiled in places where machine access is easily achieved and will be removed during the following week.

There will be a short talk about the bushfire risk issues by RMB staff at the General at 9:30am on Saturday morning. Do not hesitate to contact the Board if you have any queries.

Regards Greg O'Donohue

Fire Prevention Co-ordinator

gregod@mthotham.com.au