THE DEPARTMENT OF Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is the lead agency responsible for managing wildlife impacted by fire in accordance with the Victorian Response Plan for Wildlife Impacted by Fire . The Response Plan has been reviewed and updated in consultation with the wildlife welfare sector in response to the 2019–20 bushfire season.
Wildlife in areas impacted by fire can be disoriented, smoke-affected and dehydrated. Some may also be suffering from burns and other injuries. Following a fire, it is expected that injured and uninjured wildlife will be seen moving through and near the fire ground.
Members of the public are urged to take care if attempting to help injured or distressed animals outside of the fire area. Improper rescue techniques by untrained or inexperienced persons can cause further distress or injury to the animal and put the rescuer at risk. Motorists should watch out for displaced animals along roadsides.
During a fire, the Incident Controller will determine if a wildlife response is required. Fire grounds are dangerous, even after the fire front has passed. Individuals, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation groups must not self-deploy to search for wildlife.
The purpose of the Victorian Response Plan for Wildlife Impacted by Fire (the Plan) is to define how DELWP, its partner agencies, contractors and volunteers will respond to wildlife welfare arising from fire. The Plan also defines how this will occur under Victoria’s emergency management arrangements.