EPA RESPONSE TO THE HAZELWOOD MINE FIRE

The EPA’s primary role in response to the Hazelwood mine fire was to provide expert advice and analysis on the environmental impacts of the fire on Morwell and surrounding areas.17

Over the course of the fire, the EPA deployed 136 on-the-ground staff members, with additional support staff working out of its Centre for Environmental Science in Macleod, Victoria.18

The scope, scale, resources and duration of EPA activities in its emergency response to the Hazelwood mine fire were significant, and went beyond the EPA’s traditional role.19

EPA AS A SUPPORT AGENCY IN AN EMERGENCY

As set out in Chapter 2.2 Preparing for fire, Mr Craig Lapsley, Fire Services Commissioner, assumed the role of State Controller prior to and during the Hazelwood mine fire.

On 11 February 2014, the State Control Centre officially requested that the EPA act as a support agency, providing advice to the Fire Services Commissioner, the Chief Health Officer and the State and Regional Control Centres.20

The EPA was one of many government agencies that acted as a support agency in response to the Hazelwood mine fire. Along with other agencies, the EPA was involved in the State Emergency Management Team. It was also involved with the Regional Command Centre, which operated out of Traralgon.21

EPA INVESTIGATION INTO THE HAZELWOOD MINE FIRE

The EPA Enforcement Review Panel is undertaking an investigation into the Hazelwood mine fire.22 As this investigation was not complete at the time the Board finalised its report, comment cannot be made on the scope of this investigation.