Communities across the country have received funding to help boost their bushfire preparedness thanks to their successful applications in the 2021 Nutrien Ag Solutions Community Grants Program.
Hazard reduction in Coolabah
Coolabah, a remote town 85kms from Nyngan, is home to a small but mighty community of hard-working volunteers, the Coolabah United Citizens Incorporated. Tall, rapid growing grasses around the town are a serious fire hazard over summer and concerned locals have been maintaining long grasses around the town with their own small push mowers. Their grant has been used to purchase new ride on mower which will help protect facilities like the local hall, playground and public amenities from the risk of fire.
Emergency equipment in rural Victoria
Volunteer Fire Brigades from the Creswick, Clunes, Smeaton, and Kingston areas have purchased lighting equipment and an electric chainsaw to support brigades attending emergency incidents. “Better lighting will greatly improve accessibility and safety at accidents, rescues and residential and rural fires,” said Gregory Erwin, president of the Birch Group of Fire Brigades.
Building resilience in Katanning
The lingering fear following devastating fires in 2019-2020 prompted the Katanning Regional Business Association to ensure their community is physically and mentally prepared for the summer. The group used their grant funding to hold a workshop in October to educate and upskill women in the community. “We had a huge fire in 2020 and had to evacuate, back then I thought we would be more protected in town, but no,” said Suzanne Leckie of QFH Multiparts in Katanning. Suzanne attended the workshop and said it was a great success – “It was very informative, we learnt about how embers start fires and where to hide from radiant heat which is really lethal. It was interactive too, with a tub filled with essential equipment. People don’t have radios with batteries anymore but for bushfires they are definitely needed, that goes for floods as well! The more info we have the better prepared we are, I certainly know that better now!”
For more information on the 2021 Nutrien Ag Solutions Community Grants Program and a list of the recipients click here.
PHOTO: Katanning Regional Business Association's bushfire preparedness workshop.