“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland)

Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin

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03 March 2009

BLACK SATURDAY PHYLLOXERA PROTOCOLS

CHATEAU YERING AT YERING STATION IN THE YARRA VALLEY: DID ANY FIREMEN WALK HERE WITHOUT CLEANING THEIR BOOTS? WERE ALL THE TRUCKS WASHED BEFORE ATTENDING THIS PROPERTY? WERE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BRIGADES HERE? CAN FIREMEN REALLY BE EXPECTED TO OBSERVE PHYLLOXERA PROTOCOLS AT THE HEAT OF EXPLOSIVE HOLOCAUSTS LIKE BLACK SATURDAY?

Did All The Firemen Wash Their Boots?
Top Bug Man Quick To Respond

by PHILIP WHITE

Curious about the phylloxera protocols observed in the Yarra Valley during the peak of the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires, I wrote the following note to Alan Nankivell, Chief Executive Officer of the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia:

QUESTION ON NOTICE:

Dear Alan,

I was wondering what phylloxera protocols were in force during the fighting of the bushfires in the recent Yarra Valley conflagration.

I would be very pleased to discover what occurred.

I await your response.



RAPID RESPONSE:


Dear Mr White,

Thank you for your enquiry.

The Country Fire Authority (CFA) of Victoria, have the “Incidence Action Plan” a process in place where fire fighters are briefed before commencing their 12 hour fire fighting shift. The details of the Incidence Action Plan, highlight matters of safety, endangered plants and animals and potential risks such as diseases that the fire fighters will need to be aware of and manage whilst they are carrying out their duties. The information contained in the Incidence Action Plan is primarily provided by the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and the Department of Primary Industries- Victoria (DPI-Vic).

In respect to the recent “Black Saturday” fires, the CFA have advised that they receive ongoing advice from DPI-Vic regarding Phylloxera in the Yarra Valley and other Victorian locations to be incorporated in the Incidence Action Plans. I am advised that the Kangaroo Ground Incident Centre (responsible for the CFA’s operations in the Yarra Valley) had incorporated the Draft Maroondah PIZ (Phylloxera Infested Zone), released by DPI-Vic on 23 December 2008, into its spatial maps and when the Maroondah PIZ was formally updated and gazetted on the 19th Feb. 2009 , DPI-Vic provided the Kangaroo Ground ICC with a new map boundary with instructions outlining steps to prevent the spread of Phylloxera during fire fighting and mopping up operations.

BLACK SATURDAY IMAGE BY JASON SOUTH

The protocol provided by DPI-Vic to CFA has the following instruction:

It is important that all fire fighters are aware of the risks of spreading Phylloxera.

Steps to prevent the spread of Phylloxera during operations:

* People/machinery/vehicles or equipment should not enter a vineyard (i.e. area planted to vines) within the Phylloxera Infection Zone unless absolutely necessary.

* If this is un avoidable, fire fighters should avoid driving vehicles off formal farm tracks and avoid working or walking between vines.

* If this in unavoidable, fire fighters should make every effort to contact the vineyard manager to determine vineyard disinfestation protocols.

* Any vehicles, machinery or equipment that has been on a vineyard in the PIZ, must be washed down with a hose and must be fully cleaned with all soil and plant material removed before entering another vineyard within the PIZ, or vineyard region outside the PIZ. All soil should also be removed from boots.

*All out of area crews must be vigilant of the Phylloxera procedure and ensure all vehicles, machinery equipment and PPE are adequately cleaned prior to leaving the PIZ.

I trust this information assists in your discovery.

Yours sincerely,
Alan Nankivell,
Chief Executive Officer,
Phylloxera and Grape Industry Board of South Australia.

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