Do you live in an urban area of Victoria? Love Victoria’s wild places, and want to help protect them from worsening bushfires? This one’s for you.
Climate change is supercharging our bushfire seasons. Victoria’s latest Climate Science Report predicts that the annual number of high fire danger days in Victoria will increase by over 60% by the 2050s. These climate-fueled bushfires threaten Victorian lives, health, industry, First Nations cultural heritage and biodiversity on an unprecedented scale.
Longer, more intense bushfire seasons are placing huge burdens on Victoria’s firefighters. The Country Fire Authority (CFA) has lost nearly 2,000 volunteers since the Black Summer bushfires, and many rural CFA brigades are ageing as young people move to urban areas for work and study. Additionally, as climate change causes bushfire seasons around the world to overlap, we will not be able to draw on external firefighting support as we have in the past for ‘surge capacity’ needed during large bushfires.
It is clear that to tackle the climate-fuelled bushfire seasons of the 21st century, Victoria needs to strengthen its firefighting capacity by unlocking new sources of volunteers within the state.
We call on the Victorian government to create a volunteer remote area firefighting team (RAFT) that Victorians living in urban areas, like you, could join.
Allowing urban Victorians to be trained and deployed as firefighters at times of urgent need would be a smart response to the reality of longer, more intense bushfire seasons. It would:
- Be an innovative way of strengthening firefighting capacity that would bring a younger, greater diversity of people into the CFA.
- Allow urban-based people who love wild places to play a practical role in protecting them from bushfires.
- Increase firefighting capacity at a low cost to the state.
- Contain fires before they destroy huge areas of biodiversity-rich bush. In bad fire seasons we often have to prioritise firefighting efforts to protect private property before public land, and a team dedicated to remote areas would help ensure that the places we love can be protected.
- Provide backup for Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMV) remote area teams (which should also continue to be expanded)
- Catch Victoria up with other states that have Remote Area Firefighting Teams (NSW, Tasmania, ACT and QLD).
- Lessen the burden on existing fire brigades over summer. All Victorians benefit from volunteer firefighting, but the burden is not shared between urban and regional people.
The Victorian government’s new ten-year Bushfire Management Strategy states that the goal of increasing firefighter capacity is fundamental and will be a key aspect of its approach. With the strategy in draft form, we have an opportunity to get this good idea on the table and make it a reality.
To make our case, we need to demonstrate that there are lots of urban-based people who would sign up to be part of a Victorian RAFT, if it existed.
Add Your Name: I’d sign up to join a remote area firefighting team for Victoria.
*Note: by adding your name, you are not committing yourself to anything mandatory in advance. This pledge is for us to demonstrate the level of interest in the idea and for you to receive campaign updates.