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14 February 2009
Chief of the Defence Force calls by bushfire affected region

Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, AC, AFC, has visited his soldiers in the field, deployed on the Joint Task supporting the Victorian Government bushfire relief effort.

Air Chief Marshal Houston began his tour at Maygar Barracks in Broadmeadows, Melbourne, to witness the departure of the first convoy of trucks carrying 120 pallets of emergency equipment to be used to set up Community Service Hubs in bushfire ravaged areas.

The visit also included a stop in Kinglake, where Air Chief Marshal Houston met with Health Support Team personnel and local residents, before moving on to Whittlesea to speak with members of the Search Task Group (STG), who have been supporting the Victoria Police Risk Impact Assessment task.

In the first five days of operation, STG teams have searched approximately 120 square kilometres of fire damaged areas, including Kinglake, Flowerdale, Marysville, Hazeldene, St Andrews, Yarra Glen and Traralgon.

So far, the Engineer Support Group has established more than 75 kilometres of containment lines in the Broadford, Whittlesea and Yan Yean Reservoir areas. Teams of chainsaw operators, supported by heavy plant machinery, have also cleared 35 kilometres of roads of damaged and fallen trees.