What is CBBM?

Community Based Bushfire Management (CBBM) is one of the projects under the State-wide, Victorian Government funded Safer Together project. It adopts a community development approach in reducing bushfire risk through using community knowledge, values, skills, resources and strengths. It promotes the community being at the centre of decision making and working in equal partnership with different agencies as together we aim towards safer and more resilient communities.

There are currently 21 communities across the State engaged in CBBM, supported by nine facilitators embedded within the CFA, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and local government.

As an area with high bushfire risk and a history of fires and flooding, Toongabbie first engaged in the CBBM program in April 2019. Since then, a range of discussions, events and projects have supported the Toongabbie community in enhancing resilience to bushfires and other emergencies.

Some activities have included:

  • Joint bus trip with agencies to discuss structure planning and rezoning, Sept 2019
  • Discussions with Rider’s Club about horse preparedness for emergencies, discussions with shop owners about their role and capacities during emergencies
  • Forewarned is Forearmed community event, Sunday 31st January 2021 @ Mechanic’s Institute and Village Green (see pictures below)
  • Ongoing discussions with Southern Rural Water about ways we can improve public safety at Cowwarr Weir on high risk days/during a fire event
  • ‘Safety in Numbers’ house number campaign (see article below)
  • Vegetation Management Expo community event, Sunday 13 November 2022 @ Mechanic’s Institute and Village Green (see pictures below)

Upcoming events and initiatives

Welcome packs for new residents. Community members have now completed welcome packs for new residents which highlight the history of flooding and fires in the area and shares local knowledge for preparedness and resilience in the face of emergencies, specific to Toongabbie. These packs are available for pick up at the general store if you missed the launch on Saturday 19 June 2021. A digital copy can also be found here. Please contact Rebekah for more information.

Get in touch

If you’d like further information on Toongabbie CBBM events or projects, or if you have any questions or ideas for community initiatives, please get in touch with Toongabbie’s CBBM Facilitator Rebekah Baynard-Smith at: or 0427 368 657.


Insurance for Bushfires

Bushfire Insurance Tips (Disaster Legal Help Victoria)

Horses and Bushfires

Register your property with the Department of Agriculture by obtaining a Property Identification Code (PIC) to indicate horses are there. This is an important step in ensuring that if your property is impacted by fire, Dept. of Agriculture can enter to check on the welfare of your livestock.

Horses and Bushfires Planning Template (CFA)

Horses and Bushfires Factsheet (CFA)

Vegetation Management Expo (Nov 2022)

The Toongabbie community held its first ever Vegetation Management Expo on Sunday 13 November 2022 – an all-round success! Forecasted to thunderstorm, we were blessed with blue skies and a steady morning with people from Toongabbie, Cowwarr, Tyers and even as far as Hazelwood North coming to learn about best practice for managing vegetation for bushfire season.

The Toongabbie Township Group joined forces with the Community Based Bushfire Management program to bring CFA, FFMVic, Wellington Shire Council and Latrobe City Council all together in the Mechanic’s Institute Hall to chat with interested residents about all things fuel management in the landscape, how to prepare your property, and what some of the challenges are gearing up for summer in a La Nina spring.

Attendees reported finding the event really valuable and informative, and good reminders of what actions they need to take, such as clearing undergrowth and registering their burn offs.

Thanks to the Lions Club of Wellington/Latrobe (Toongabbie) for a stellar barbecue, to Bunnings Warehouse Traralgon for the generous donation of prizes, all the stallholders, and of course the TTG for bringing this idea to life.

Safety in Numbers – House number project (2022)

Thank you to the Community Based Bushfire Management (CBBM) program, in particular the CBBM Briagolong group, for donating solar powered house numbers which the Mechanic’s Institute and the Toongabbie Township Group have been able to sell to raise money for community projects. 24 house numbers were sold to Toongabbie residents, raising a total of $360. Not only has this helped boost funds for community initiatives, but has improved the visibility of house numbers around Toongabbie which will assist emergency services as they locate houses in tricky conditions, such as at night or in smoke. To those who missed out, they are available online through eBay and other retailers if you search for “Solar Magic” House Number Solar Light.

Toongabbie Leadership Breakfast (May 2021)

On Saturday 22nd May, leaders of Toongabbie community groups and other interested residents came together to share a breakfast and participate in a workshop around bushfire risk reduction and effective communication. The first part focused on how groups can use their various channels of communication (internally and externally) to more effectively disseminate important information, minimise panic during fire events, and how to support any vulnerable people within their groups. The second part was led by Fire Risk Consultants who are drafting Community Bushfire Mitigation Plans across Latrobe City, with priority areas chosen by the communities themselves. Main themes which arose for the plans included improved access/egress, clearer responsibilities around roadside vegetation management and understanding the planned burns strategies in the region. If you are interested in reviewing a draft of the plan as it becomes available, please let Rebekah know.

“Forewarned is Forearmed” Community Event (Jan 2021)

Thanks to further lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, the Toongabbie community gathered on Sunday 31st January 2021 to ‘forearm’ themselves once again for what might be a delayed fire season. Being a major horse community, the CFA were invited to speak specifically on empowering horse owners to better prepare themselves and their equine for emergency events.

Lisa Blackman (CFA) shared practical steps horse owners can take before, during and after fire events that would support the safety and wellbeing of not only horses, but also their owners. Participants reported feeling more prepared after the session, with a ‘to-do list’ of next steps they’ll be taking to better plan for fire season and their horses. More information about preparing your property for fire (including stables and paddocks), planning for your animals, and other ways to get support can be found in the resources above.

Tim Meehan (Disaster Legal Help Victoria) also presented on navigating insurance for bushfires. This was an incredibly informative session which has prompted participants to take out insurance, review their policies, check for exclusions/limitations and loopholes, as well as ensure all important documents are stored together somewhere safe and on the cloud.

Following the presentations, a raffle was drawn with practical prizes such as solar-panelled back-lit house numbers, handheld battery radios, USBs and powerbanks. Followed by a Lions Club sausage sizzle, face painting and stalls, the community enjoyed its first CBBM event after many months of lockdown.

Thank you to our speakers, Lisa and Tim, and the CFA and Disaster Legal Help Victoria for supporting this event. Thanks to Theo Van Der Meulen from the Latrobe Valley Camera Club for your photography of the day. Big thank you to the Lions Club, Toongabbie Township Group and Mechanic’s Institute for your leadership with this event and support for even greater community resilience.

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