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Report name
Inquiry into the 2019-20 Victorian Fire Season - Phase 1
Lead agency
EMV - Emergency Management Victoria
Due date
June 2021
IGEM considers that this action has been implemented
Recommendation theme
Recommendation 11: Evacuation
Recommendation details

The Inspector-General for Emergency Management recommends that Victoria Police – in collaboration with the community and the emergency management sector – reflect on events of the 2019-20 fire season to review and enhance evacuation plans and processes with consideration of:
a)    high risk areas (including remote locations)
b)    early evacuation triggers
c)    the potential for isolated communities
d)    the presence of tourists and non-residents
e)    individual decisions to not evacuate
f)    the inability to evacuate
g)    consequence management and compounding events such as the loss of essential services or health impacts.


Prior to the 2021–22 financial year, the Victorian Government will make sure consistent processes and communications are developed in relation to evacuations and the closure of access roads, parks and reserves.

Summary of progress

Parks Victoria’s Code Red Park Closures webpage (parks.vic.gov.au/get-into-nature/safety-in-nature/changed-conditions-and-closures/code-red-park-closures (External link)) acknowledges that many of Victoria's parks and forests are bushfire prone areas. It states that on forecast Code Red days, DELWP and Parks Victoria will close many parks and forests (including state forests and national parks) in the relevant weather district for public safety. For each weather district the webpage lists which parks are closed on Code Red days (high risk) and which are open (lower or reduced risk) and includes a Code Red Park and Forest Closure Fact Sheet with further information.

VicPol is responsible for coordinating evacuation in an emergency. Community evacuation fact sheets are available on its website in a number of languages: police.vic.gov.au/emergency-response (External link)

EMV's work to ensure timely, consistent and relevant communications in preparation for, in determination of, and during Code Red days supports the acquittal of this action (refer to Action 11.3 for more details). EMV's Code Red day determination processes and communication approach provides a set of consistent communications about the closure of roads, parks and reserves as well as the appropriate communications channels to use. 

EMV advised that an inter-agency review of communications for evacuation and park and forest closures has commenced, including community-focused research. EMV anticipates that the review will inform any potential improvements for the upcoming 2021–22 fire season.