Barnawartha – Indigo Valley Bushfire Recovery
Led by: Indigo Valley Bushfire Community Recovery Committee
Supported by: Indigo Shire Council, Department of Health and Human Services, Regional Development Victoria, Country Fire Authority, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Parks Victoria, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, North East Catchment Management Authority, Gateway Health, Ag Biz Assist, Australian Red Cross, Middle Indigo Primary School
The Indigo Valley Bushfire Recovery project was started after a bushfire on December 20th 2015, when a community-led recovery committee was set up to respond to the fire.
The committee took a community-led process to identify needs and priorities after the fire and tailor actions to local needs.
As part of the project the committee identified communication as the key to ensuring the community was safer and committed to improving communication so that “no-one is left out of the loop”. It implemented a system of phone trees across the valley to improve communication during emergencies and a range of initiatives that have changed social interactions. For example, regular crafter sessions held at the CFA sheds, regular walking groups between neighbours and a community led newsletter have all helped to connect residents more frequently and support community preparedness.
Benloch Community Recovery
Led by: Benloch Residents
Supported by: Country Fire Authority, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Parks Victoria, Forest Fire Management Victoria, Macedon Ranges Shire Council
In the aftermath of the Lancefield fire, the community of Benloch began working on a plan to create community-based bushfire planning and awareness to mitigate the risks of bushfire in the future.
Given that many Benloch residents have poor internet and phone connections, and that many commute to Melbourne for work, there were not established networks between many residents. This project allowed the Benloch community to connect while the town was in a state of recovery, and learn more about their fire risk, and what they as a community could do to inform and manage fire risk.
The community gatherings, which have all taken place at the Benloch Fire Station (the only public building in the locality) have become a regular occurrence and helped strengthened community relationships. Current projects the community working group is undertaking include roadside vegetation management, property information gathering and a community fuel reduction program.
While the Lancefield fire was undoubtedly a tragedy, the residents within Benloch have used it as an opportunity to strengthen community partnerships and be proactive about mitigating the risk of future bushfire.