FIREFIGHTERS who battled an out-of-control blaze near Rochester will step up education campaigns at the urging of the public.
The region is a higher risk than many for grass fires when catastrophic weather conditions bring blistering temperatures and howling winds on catastrophic risk days, Rochester brigade captain Luke Warren said.
He was among those answering questions as the public gathered to take stock of the out-of-control blaze that whipped through paddocks, over roads and a railway line a week-and-a-half ago.
"There can be a bit of complacency around grass fires. People think that because it is not bush that they aren't a real threat," he said.
That can cause challenges for firefighters running education campaigns in places like Rochester, which lack the forests often associated with dangerous bushfires, Mr Warren said.
"But as you saw on the code red day, given the right conditions a grass fire can be just as scary as a large bushfire," he said.
That blaze ended up destroying structures and killing stock. It is likely it could have been worse if it had not been slowed by irrigation paddocks and land already cut for hay.
The brigade will increase its community education campaigns in the wake of Thursday's public meeting, with members of the public telling Mr Warren and the Campaspe Shire Council they would like more information about how to prepare.
"It will be about getting that message across about cleaning up around the house prior to the fire danger period and to keep maintaining that cleanliness throughout that time," he said.
Other topics raised included more maintenance of public land and roadsides in the area, Mr Warren said. Those questions were referred to the council.
Mr Warren was supportive of calls from veteran firefighter Murray McDonald, who previously told the Bendigo Advertiser neighbours may need to work more closely together to cut down on fire risks in isolated areas around Rochester.
"A group of people can do more work than one person on their own. So if neighbours and communities can get together that is going to be far more effective," Mr Warren said.
Mr Warren was pleased with the CFA's handling of the fire - a sentiment that members of the public shared at Thursday's meeting.
That followed a visit from Victoria's emergency management commissioner Andrew Crisp on Tuesday, who thanked emergency service personnel for their efforts during the fire.
"That was really good for morale. It's great to get thanks from anyone, particularly the community. But it's also good to get some recognition at a state level as well," Mr Warren said.
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