Thomson & Walhalla-Stoney Creek Fires - Community Update 22 Feb 2019

What is Council doing/What is Council’s Role?

This page was last updated on 22 February 2019.

You can find printable issue specific fact sheets at the foot of the page under 'Related Information'.

  • Council has been able to assist two residents that lost their primary place of residence in the Walhalla-Stoney Creek Fire to receive emergency funding through the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.
  • Emergency recovery activities by Council have begun. Communication with those impacted, planning on recovery activities, secondary impact assessment and community support information has been complied in preparation of being able to gain access to the impacted and fire ground areas.
  • Several road and track closures remain in place for the safety of the public and fire crews that are still working to black out hot spots and attend to hazardous tress along many of the tracks. However, the main Walhalla Road is open to the township.
  • All roads and tracks beyond Walhalla township remain closed to public access and the community are advised that many fire and support trucks are traveling and stopping in the area. Many of these tracks will remain closed until at least Monday 25 February 2019.
  • The community are advised that driving past a road closure point could void your insurance. A full list of closures can be found on the VicRoads website
  • Municipal Secondary Impact Assessment (MSIA) will commence once the areas are deemed safe for Council Officers to enter. Early indications are that this process will commence during the week of the 18 February.
  • Councils role now is to support the community through coordination and advocacy of support services to the impacted communities.


  • Those impacted should contact their insurance provider to ascertain provisions of clean up and what your insurance covers.
  • A short video on how you can help yourself to recover can be found via
  • The community should be aware that due to the terrain, these fires will continue to burn for many weeks.

Clean Up

Emergency Assistance Service

If you or your family have been affected by the Walhalla Fires and you need assistance and support, there are a number of services available listed on this flyer that could assist you.

In an emergency:

  • call 000 for Police, Fire and Ambulance.
  • call 132 500 for SES in a Flood or Storm.

Download this emergency assistance services Fact Sheet(PDF, 50KB) for a full list services and contact details. 

Financial and Personal Support

If you or your family has been affected by the Walhalla-Stoney Creek Fire and you need support, there are several options available to you.

Financial Support

Please note that Council does not issue cash grants to any persons affected by the fires.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) manage the distribution of Emergency Relief grants. Please call DHHS on 1300 799 232.

Rate Payment

If you are a Baw Baw Shire resident and have been affected by fire and require assistance with your rate payment, due on 28 February 2019, please call Council on 1300 BAW BAW (1300 229 229) to discuss.


Council is not currently accepting or distributing donations of cash or goods.

To ensure your assistance reaches those who need it most, call your preferred charity directly.

Personal Support

Any residents that require personal support in the first instance should contact Baw Baw Shire Council on 1300 BAW BAW (1300 229 229).

Health and Safety

For information about how to protect your health or risks related to returning home after a fire, visit

For air-quality updates, visit

If you have concerns about your health or someone in your care, see a doctor or call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24.

Useful Information

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Counselling delivered by qualified, experienced professionals 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Kids Help Line – 1800 551 800

Confidential telephone counselling service for young people aged 5–25 years.

ParentLine – 132 289

Counselling and information for families with children (up to 18 years) from 8am to midnight seven days a week.

Men’s Line Australia – 1300 789 978

24–hour counselling and advice for men.

Lifeline – 131 114

24-hour telephone counselling, information and referral service.

beyondblue – 1300 224 636

Provides information on depression and anxiety. To access professional counselling services, please make contact with your GP and seek a referral.

Emergency Relief and Recovery Victoria or by phoning the Victorian Emergency Recovery Information Line on 1300 799 232

For more information

For the latest information please visit phone our Customer Service team on 1300 BAW BAW (1300 229 229). 

Replacement of Essential Water Supply

This scheme helps to relieve hardship in the community by replenishing essential private water supplies that have been used by fire services during bushfire emergencies.

The Victorian Government has a policy regarding replacing essential water used during bushfire fighting operations. CFA and Forest Fire Management firefighters have the legislative powers to take water from any waterway or water source for firefighting purposes.

The water owner can request replacement of essential water under this scheme.

The water replacement scheme recognises that, while farmers understand the urgency of firefighting, their basic water interests have to be protected too.

If taken for firefighting purposes, a reasonable and sufficient volume of essential water will be provided to sustain the:

  • health of affected residences and pets
  • health and productivity of stock

Lodging a request for Essential Water Replacement

To lodge a request for essential water replacement, download and complete the Essential Water Replacement form from then email it to

To lodge a request for water replacement, please contact your local municipality within three months of the water being taken. Essential Water Replacement requests must be submitted within 3 months of the essential water being taken for bushfire fighting operations.

Water used by property owners may not have their water replaced through this scheme.

Preventing water tank contamination after a bushfire

The most effective way to prevent contamination of your water tank is to make sure it is properly sealed and to disconnect the downpipes to the tank as soon as there is a bushfire risk.

Do not reconnect the downpipes until the roof has been cleaned after the bushfire, either manually or after a flush of rain.

Detecting tank water contamination

If your water looks, smells or tastes unusual, then it is likely to be contaminated. Do not use the water for drinking or food preparation, and do not give it to animals.

Water that is not suitable for drinking can still be used on the garden. Water testing is not necessary, as contamination is easily identified by a change in taste, smell or clarity.

Debris or dead animals on your roof or in the gutters should be removed. Use gloves and place in a plastic bag for disposal. Your tank water should be disinfected before re-using.

Disinfecting tank water

Water can be disinfected by bringing it to a rolling boil or by adding chlorine.

For every 1,000 litres of water in the tank, you can safely add either:

  • Approximately 125 ml or 125 g of 4 per cent household bleach. Avoid using bleaches that contain detergents or other chemicals, such as perfumes
  • Approximately 40 ml or 40 g of 12.5 per cent chlorine liquid swimming pool chlorine or dairy factory chlorine.
  • Approximately 8 ml or 8 g of 65 per cent granular ‘swimming pool’ chlorine.

After chlorinating, you should wait at least 24 hours before using the water to allow for harmful microorganisms to be treated.

Contact Us

  • We’re here to help! For more information please contact Council on 1300 BAW BAW (1300 229 229).
  • For life threatening emergencies, always call triple zero 000.
  • For flood and storm emergencies call VIC SES on 132 500.