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Fire prompts reminder about unstable trees near powerlines after heavy rain

Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) is calling on Victorians to be aware of the heightened risk of trees falling near powerlines following recent heavy rain, particularly in windy conditions.

ESV investigated an incident in a suburban Nunawading street on 17 November where a large tree uprooted in waterlogged soil, falling and bringing down low voltage powerlines onto a car.

The live powerlines started a fire on the car and firefighsters were called.

Fortunately, no one was injured.

Victoria has experienced a consistent deluge over the past month with much of the state impacted by floods and other rain damage.

With wind and rain forecast to continue, it’s important the community be aware of the increased risk of unstable trees, particularly near powerlines.

If Victorians are concerned about an unstable tree near powerlines, the best thing to do is report the location of the tree to the electricity distribution business that operates in that area.

ESV is also reminding Victorians to remain eight-to-ten metres from fallen powerlines as they may still be live. Always treat fallen powerlines as live even when they are broken or damaged.

ESV is responsible for regulating electricity companies (responsible for powerlines on private land and regional public land) and councils (urban public land) to ensure trees within safe distances from powerlines under the Electricity Safety (Electric Line Clearance) Regulations 2020.

To highlight the dangers of trees being too close to powerlines, ESV has produced a short animation, which alerts the community to the line clearance responsibilities across Victoria.

You can view the animation here

ESV Chairperson and Commissioner Marnie Williams

“Every time the we experience heavy rain and extreme wind, the chances of trees and vegetation becoming unstable rise.”

“In this case, it was lucky no one was near the tree or powerlines, however the incident does serve as an example of powerlines being live even after they have fallen or been damaged.”

Media contact: Adrian Bernecich 0437 729 194 | adrian.bernecich@energysafe.vic.gov.au