Published on Thursday, 24 December 2020 at 9:20:28 AM

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays form the Chief Fire Officer.

I would firstly like to remind the Brookton Community - There will be a Harvest and Vehicle Movement Ban on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day.

Additionally, a Christmas Eve Harvest & Vehicle Movement Ban announcement was introduced this morning the 24-12-2020.



SMS - SMS is the official medium that we use to convey directives and warnings to the community, for example; Harvest and Vehicle Movement Bans, changes in the fire season and any other mandated messages.

WhatsApp - WhatsApp is more newsworthy notices and has various levels.

  • Community brigade level - The Shire of Brookton is divided into three geographical bushfire brigade zones; West, Central and East. Any member of the public can be a member of one or more brigades groups and we invite people to communicate in the event of fire to update information. Brief, Clear messages are welcome. Small events are often only communicated to 1 group if possible to minimise volunteer fatigue or overload, however, if the event escalates other groups get notified and asked for assistance as well.
  • Other Groups - We have additional message groups for incident control, fire control officers (FCOs), captains, and even Fire Chiefs from neighbouring Shires. This includes exhaustive communication with key staff at the Shire of Brookton, regards their machine and personnel capacity.

Please only "direct message" myself or captains for your questions/debate/general chat to minimise disruption for everyone else in the chat group. Many people communicate directly to myself or to their area fire captain as to their whereabouts for their own peace of mind regarding fire. (This information is kept strictly confidential for security reasons)


  • Restricts the movement of vehicles, harvesting and other activity that may cause fire on any lands.
  • Completely disconnected to State Government imposed "Total Fire Bans."
  • Harvest and Vehicle Movement Bans can be called at any time by brigades or Chief as they see fit, where the danger of Fire escaping and becoming uncontrolled is high, This is enforceable under the Bushfires Act of 1954.
  • The Harvest & Vehicle Movement Ban directive is given to Shire staff by the Fire Chief and Captains and the Shire then act on our behalf to communicate with residents and take action as directed.
  • The Fire Captains and Chiefs use a calculation called the Macarthur index working with weather measurements taken strategically across the three Shires that create a fire danger index (FDI) which is used to indicate risks of fire spread. Bans are mandated by law at a level of FDI 32 or above.
  • Fire Control Officers also consider information from Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), including availability of firefighters, fire fighting equipment maintenance levels and any other factor they see as a risk to preventing fire spreading, Sometimes we may have part of the Shire at a high level FDI when the rest can be quite low. 
    • Macarthur index - biggest influence is wind speed.
    • Fuel loads will change throughout the fire season and also have a bearing on what FDI is considered
    • Extended forecasts of bad weather also get factored in


We welcome Jason Carroll in this role, Jason's role is to assist brigades with liaison, safety, training, brigade administration and technical advice and technical execution of tasks in any event.

Jason's rank of Fire Control Officer (FCO) enables him to give directives to the general community under the Bush Fire Act of 1954. He is directed by the FCO's, Brigade Captains and the Chief Bush Fire Control Officer.

Firefighting tools and community expectations have rapidly changed in the last 10 years in the events of new technology such as; mobile phones, social media, aerial water bombers and their need for ground control. We also have a smaller percentage of the population with familiarity in emergency service practices, proactive fire reduction practices and fire fighting experience. Our fire seasons are becoming hotter and drier, so whilst the actual act of fighting the fire hasn't changed a lot, and our Brigades are very experienced and capable, the extension work is becoming a more specialist fired and Jason's CESM role is to support us with the coordination of all these factors. 

Wishing you all the best for a safe and uneventful Festive Season.

Murrray Hall CBFCO

Chief Bush Fire Control Officer

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