Council focuses on recovery following Lexton-Ben Major fire


Pyrenees Shire Council is now focusing on recovery following the Lexton-Ben Major Fire of December 2019.

Mayor Tanya Kehoe said she was inspired by the impacted community’s resilience following the fire.

“The community have banded together and continue to support one another following the devastation of December 20 and 21,” Cr Kehoe said. “Council is now working on a recovery implementation plan, assessing the steps forward to ensure that those impacted have the information and support they need.”

The developing recovery implementation plan is aimed at assisting the community following the impacts of the fire, from assisting with temporary accommodation, animal welfare, agricultural impacts, managing donations, ongoing personal support for those impacted and more. A fire recovery newsletter has been produced, and further editions will be published throughout the recovery process.

“Our priorities lie with the safety and wellbeing of all Pyrenees Shire residents and visitors following the fire,” Cr Kehoe said. “We will be announcing further programs and recovery projects as the recovery implementation plan progresses.”

Council’s assessment of impacted infrastructure including local roads has now been completed, with works underway to remove hazards along roads and fence lines. Reduced speed limits are in place on the Lexton-Ararat and Lexton-Beaufort Roads, and the Ben-Major Track remains closed at this time.

The BlazeAid team have established a camp at the Lexton Recreation Reserve, and volunteers have started to assist with the repair and rebuilding of fences damaged in the fire.

Further to the multi-agency review and announcement around the postponement of the Rainbow Serpent Festival 2020, Council is working with Festival organisers on plans for the proposed Easter event. Further information and updates will be published as details are finalised.

The Lexton-Ben Major Fire burned approximately 3,000 hectares of farm and bushland. One primary residence was impacted, four sheds were lost, and a significant amount of fencing, trees, crop and pasture.

An initial impact assessment showed that in excess of 1,000 sheep were lost as a result of the fire, and further assessments are being done to determine the full extent of livestock lost.

The recovery implementation plan will be tabled for consideration at the January Council meeting on Tuesday 21 January at the Council Chamber in Beaufort.