Fire Recovery - February Fires

Support and Assistance for Residents

On Tuesday 13 February, a significant fire event occurred in the Grampians, heavily impacting the towns of Pomonal, Lake Fyans, Bellfield and Halls Gap. 

On Thursday 22 February, a fire started in the Bayindeen / Mt Cole forest, and has affected state forest, and many properties in the townships of Amphitheatre, Bayindeen, Ben Nevis, Chute, Elmhurst, Eversley, Glenlogie, Glenpatrick, Mount Cole, Mount Lonarch, Raglan and Beaufort. 

This page has information about the support available to residents affected by these fires through Ararat Council and other Government agencies.

 

Recovery Centres / Drop-In Centres

A recovery centre is now open until further notice at the Pomonal Hall, for those affected by the Pomonal Fires. Council recovery staff are situated at the hall from 9am - 3pm every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Manager of Building/Planning available 8:30am - 4pm Wednesday and Thursday.

The Council recovery team are available via phone any time during business hours on 5355 0200.

Residents can visit the recovery centre to: 

  • register with Council if you have had property affected by the fire
  • find information on any issue relating to the fire and fire recovery, including personal and business recovery.
  • report issues to Council
  • get information on services in the area
  • access return home kits (including protective clothing etc) 

Council’s team is the coordinating agency to which to direct any queries, questions, or to simply be an ear to listen for our community. 

 

Fire Recovery Newsletter

A recovery newsletter is published weekly for the Pomonal Community. Please see recent editions below.

Pomonal Community Newsletter - 16 April

Pomonal Community Newsletter - 2 April

Pomonal Community Newsletter - 27 March 

Pomonal Community Newsletter - 19 March 

Pomonal Community Newsletter - 12 March 

Pomonal Community Newsletter - 5 March

Pomonal Community Newsletter - 27 February

Pomonal Community Newsletter - 23 February

Community Meetings

POMONAL FIRE: A Community meeting was held Tuesday 5 March at 2.00pm, at the Pomonal Hall. To watch the meeting recording, please visit our Facebook page. 

BAYINDEEN FIRE: On Friday 1 March there was two community meetings relating to the Bayindeen fire, held in Elmhurst and Beaufort. To watch the Elmhurst meeting recording, please visit our Facebook page. To watch the Beaufort meeting, please visit the Pyrenees Shire Council Facebook page

Information about future community meetings will be posted on this website, the Ararat Rural City Council facebook page and the Pyrenees Shire Council facebook page

Image
community meeting image
Image
Beaufort community meeting image
Emergency Relief Payments

Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH)

The Victorian Government is offering emergency relief payments (via its Personal Hardship Assistance Program) to eligible community members whose homes have been impacted by the fire of 13 February 2024. Click here for more information on this program.

Emergency relief payments are designed to provide immediate financial help for eligible Victorians experiencing extreme financial hardship due to the fires. 

You are eligible for this relief payment if: 

  • your principal place of residence is in an evacuation warning area, or the fires or storms have damaged your home, AND
  • you have unmet immediate relief needs. 

If you think you may be eligible for this emergency relief payment, please call the Vic Recovery Hotline on 1800 560 760 (Press 9 for an interpreter if needed). Alternatively, please call into the Recovery centre, and our Council staff will assist in connecting you.

 

Services Australia

Services Australia (Centrelink) have announced a recovery payment available to residents who have suffered major damage to their principal place of residence, or major damage to assets. Click here to find out more about the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP). 

Please call 180 22 66, log in to your MyGov account, or call in to your local Services Australia branch to apply. 

Please note: Residents who have experienced loss of power only are not eligible for an emergency relief payment. Please contact your power or insurance company for further information.

Waste Services

Pomonal Transfer Station

Pomonal Transfer Station is currently open every day for residents to dispose of general waste. Current opening hours are:

Weekdays 8.30am - 4.00pm

Weekends 10am - 2pm

***Pomonal Transfer Station can no longer receive building materials or scrap metal due to asbestos contamination. Waste will need to be taken directly to Cleanaway Stawell - 492 Pomonal Road, Stawell. Open weekdays 7:30am - 3pm. Please note that all waste accepted by Cleanaway also has no charge, as long as the owner or contractor has ID for Pomonal or has completed this declaration form.  

 

Kerbside Bin Collection 

Kerbside Bin Collection has resumed and is now operating as normal for all our residents. If you have a query about your collection or a missed bin, please contact Council on (03) 5355 0200. 

 

Returning Home Safely

Houses, sheds and other buildings or structures burnt in a bushfire can leave potential health hazards including fallen objects, sharp objects, smouldering coals, damaged electrical wires, leaking gas and weakened walls. 

Please do not enter your property until you have been notified it is safe to do so.

You can access a kit containing protective coveralls, gloves and face masks through Council recovery staff. Please call into the Recovery Hub or call Council on 5355 0200 to pick up a pack.

Hazardous Trees: Fire crews are assessing trees to enable access to your property. If trees on your property are marked with yellow paint or tape, this means the tree, or a tree nearby has been identified as hazardous. Be aware of your surroundings and stay clear.

Asbestos: Asbestos material and some fibres may remain from damaged structures. This material presents a risk to your health. Do not disturb this material until provided with further information.

Other dangers at your Property
• Tree Roots can burn underground for weeks after a fire and may not be visible.
• Structures may be unstable – assess your risks while moving around your property.
• Agriculture chemicals and hazardous materials stored at your property
• Ground and soil can be unstable.

Further resource: After a Fire - Returning Home Safely

 

Water

Drinking Water

GWM Water have advised that Customers in Pomonal can safely drink GWMWater tap water again.

After consultation with the Department of Health, GWM have advised the ‘Do Not Drink Tap Water’ advisory for Pomonal that was issued due to the fires impacting water infrastructure has been lifted.

Water is now safe to drink from the tap. It is recommended that customers flush internal taps for two minutes to draw fresh water into their internal plumbing.

 

Tank Water

If your property has been affected by bushfire, your water source could be contaminated from debris, ash, small dead animals or aerial fire retardants. If the water tastes, looks or smells unusual, do not drink it or give it to animals. Also, you should not source water from a creek that has been affected by bushfire as the water may be contaminated. Please read more on private drinking water safety below. 

Further Resource: After a Fire - Private Drinking Water and Water Tank Safety

 

Water Supply

If your water supply was accessed and used by the CFA or Forest Fire Management in fighting the fire, you can request for it to be replaced. Please talk to Council recovery staff for more information and to complete a request form. 

 

For a current list of local water cartage or tank cleaners, please contact Council in person at our Recovery hub in Pomonal, or call (03) 5355 0200.

Emergency Stock/Pet feed

An emergency supply of dog, cat and stock feed is available. Please contact Council on (03) 5355 0200 for more information. 

BAYINDEEN FIRE: Need for Feed Australia are delivering hay to the Bayindeen fire area for fire affected landholders. If you need feed for your livestock, contact them here. 

POMONAL FIRE: Donated hay is available. Please register your details by either visiting the Relief Hub at the Pomonal Hall or calling on 0403 183 921. We can then get in contact with you to book an appointment time for pickup.

Power

Beware of fallen power lines - always treat them as ‘live’ and stay at least 10 metres away. Report them immediately by calling: 13 24 12. If the situation is life-threatening, call 000.

Powercor have advised that power has been restored to all properties in the affected area. 

If you are still without power or have power related issues, please contact Powercor on 13 22 06.

Power reconnections

  • If your property has been disconnected or affected by fire or water, you will need a registered electrical contractor:
  • Search by location through Energy Safe Victoria at: https://esv.vic.gov.au/licensing-coes/public-register-and-searches/
  • The electrician will complete a safety and compliance inspection
  • Once any repairs are done they will issue a Certificate of Electrical Safety to Powercor.
  • They’ll arrange the reconnection of your power through Powercor.
Mental Health Support

Surviving a bushfire is a traumatic event. It is understandable if you are feeling concerned and experiencing a mix of strong emotions or physical reactions right now.

Seeking help is a sign of strength and often the first step in recovery.

Remember, you are not alone in this. If you are feeling overwhelmed or concerned about your mental health, or that of someone close to you, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Talk to:

  • neighbours, friends or family
  • Council recovery staff
  • your doctor
  • Lifeline on 131114 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.

For more help and information on trauma recovery please Click Here

Psychologists Rob Gordon and David Younger provide some insights into the recovery process in this recent video series, to view these, please Click Here. 

 

Insurance Assistance

Residents who have property damaged by fire are urged to contact their insurance company and start the claims process. 

If you require assistance with your insurance claim, please see the Council recovery team and we can help connect you with some legal assistance. 

Road Closures

Police roadblocks have been lifted, however some roads remain closed within the fire affected townships, with only residents able to access. 
Fire crews and heavy vehicles are still operating in the area. If you are directed to leave an area for your safety please do so and please drive safely.

Information on updated road closures is available via 13 11 70 or the VicTraffic website.

Animal Welfare

For animal welfare advice and information on support services for injured stock contact Agriculture Victoria on 1800 226 226.

If you have deceased animals that require removal, please contact Ararat Rural City Council on 5355 0200.

Smoke inhalation in pets can be dangerous. If you think your pet has been affected by smoke seek medical advice immediately from a vet.

For further information on animal welfare in a bushfire, please visit the Department of Agriculture website.
 

Frequently Asked Questions
How can I clean up waste from my property from the fire?

Do not enter your property until you are advised that it is safe to do so by emergency services or council.

If your property has received structural damage, do not touch anything until you have received a building order notice from Council that indicates dangers like electrical risks, falling branches or asbestos that may have been identified at your property. It is also important not to start cleaning up until your insurance company has assessed the damage to your property. 

Before commencing waste removal, for your safety, pick up a return home kit (that includes protective clothing) from a Council officer at the Pomonal recovery hub or Council offices. 

Food and genral waste can be put in your waste bin. Once this fills up, you can put it out for kerbside collection or take it to your closest transfer station.

If your home was damaged by February 2024 Western Victoria bushfires and is not covered by insurance, or is underinsured, support is available through the Emergency Recovery Victoria Clean-up Support Program. Click here for more information.

 

Would the fire have affected my water supply on tank water?

If your property has been affected by bushfire, your tank water could be contaminated from debris, ash, small dead animals or aerial fire retardants. If the water tastes, looks or smells unusual, do not drink it or give it to animals. Also, you should not source water from a creek that has been affected by bushfire as the water may be contaminated. Please read more on private drinking water safety below.  

Further Resource: After a Fire - Private Drinking Water and Water Tank Safety 

How do I go about getting my roof cleaned?

If you need assistance with cleaning your roof from ash and debris following the fire, please contact Council via the Pomonal Recovery Hub. Council can record your details and see if they can connect you to someone who can assist. 

I didn’t have insurance, is there any support available to assist me?

The Federal and Victorian Governments have made available a number of financial support payments, these include:  

  • Personal hardship payments of $640 per adult and $320 per child up to a maximum of $2,240 per eligible family to help cover the costs of essentials like food, clothing, medication and accommodation. 

  • Australian Disaster Recovery Payments for people affected by fires in the Rural City of Ararat. Payments of $1,000 per adult and $400 per child are available to that community.  

  • Emergency re-establishment grants of up to $49,300 for people who are uninsured and their primary place of residence has been destroyed or is uninhabitable. 

  • Prolonged Power Outages Payments of up to $1,920 per week for households and up to $2,927 per week for up to three weeks for affected small businesses. 

The Emergency Recovery Hotline has been activated to process calls from anyone affected by fires or storms. To access recovery support, affected residents can call the Hotline on 1800 560 760. 

I am feeling overwhelmed about the fires, who can I speak to?

Natural disasters can be distressing and you might be feeling things like frustration, sadness and anxiety or are having trouble sleeping. This is a normal reaction to an abnormal event.  

Some tips on managing your recovery include:  

• Spend time with family and friends  

• Try to get back into a routine  

• Continue a healthy lifestyle (eating, sleeping, exercise)  

• Take time out but don't isolate yourself  

• Express your feelings in your own way  

• Accept help when it is offered  

• Limit the amount of media coverage you are exposed to  

• Don’t expect to have all the answers  

• Understand you are not alone in your experience  

• Keep checking in with your friends and neighbours and looking out for each other.  

Below is a list of Health and wellbeing support resources available in our area:

Grampians Community Heath Intake - 5358 7400

Uniting Mental Health Hub - 5332 1286

Budja Budja Social and Emotional Wellbeing Centre - 5356 4751 (Halls Gap) or 5352 6700 (Ararat(

The Orange Door Wimmera - 1800 271 042

Headspace (for people aged 12-25 years) - 1800 650 890 (headspace.org.au)

13YARN (First Nations Support) - 13 92 76

Beyond Blue - 1300 224 636

Who do I notify about dead, dying, dangerous or fallen trees in fire impacted areas?

If the trees are on public property, please report these to Council via the Pomonal Recovery Hub, or by calling (03) 5355 0200.

If the trees are on your private property, Council have a list of tree assessors and arborists that we can provide property owners. 

What if I come across dead or injured animals?

If you find a sick or injured native animal, contact the Wildlife Victoria Rescue Hotline on 1300 094 535. 

For animal welfare advice and information on support services for injured stock contact Agriculture Victoria on 1800 226 226. 

If you have deceased animals that require removal, please contact Ararat Rural City Council on 5355 0200. 

Smoke inhalation in pets can be dangerous. If you think your pet has been affected by smoke seek medical advice immediately from a vet. 

For further information on animal welfare in a bushfire, please visit the Department of Agriculture website. 

I want to help the fire recovery, or make a donation. How do I do this?

The Ararat Rural City Council will be coordinating recovery efforts, including opportunities for volunteers. The needs of the community are continuing to evolve. The best option is to contact Council via the Pomonal Recovery Hub or on 5355 0200 to register your details and we will contact you as opportunities or needs arise.  

Thank you for generously considering making a donation, they are a great way to ensure the affected people are able to obtain exactly what they need when they are ready. Please watch out for scams and think carefully about how you would like to donate money to ensure your contribution achieves the outcomes you intended.  

The Ararat Rural City Council will be establishing a fund for people to make donations to the recovery efforts. The bank account details for this fund will be published on the Council’s website and distributed via our social media channels once it is available to receive donations.  

What can I do about LPG installations damaged by fire?

Contact your gas company and they will arrange safe pick up, removal and replacement of gas bottles. 

Rate this page

Is this page useful?