A spokesman for the Wimmera's volunteer firefighters says paid firefighters could soon be in the region, after the state government's fire services reforms passed into law on Thursday night.
The reforms combine the Metropolitan Fire Brigade with paid Country Fire Authority staff to create Fire Rescue Victoria, with the CFA becoming volunteer-only.
It also includes presumptive cancer compensation rights for firefighters.
Maurice Dumesny, of Laharum, represents District 17 at Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria. He said it would be business as usual for volunteers for the time being.
"The state government hasn't explained the details to us yet," he said. "Things like the cost, any changes to volunteer roles, or even if we will be at the same station as paid firefighters. It beggars belief."
There are no paid firefighters in the Wimmera, though staff such as operations managers are paid. Mr Dumesny said that could change in the next four to six years.
"We don't want career firefighters coming up to the area when volunteers are meeting their target times for responding to incidents," he said.
"At Laharum our target time is eight to ten minutes. It may be that paid staff work during the day and volunteers at night, but we don't want to see the volunteers cast aside. It could leave volunteers with less work to do, and if there's not good communication, we could arrive at a job after paid firefighters have taken care of it."
VFBV members will meet in Melbourne on Saturday for a state council, where the passing of the legislation is expected to dominate the agenda.
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said the government rushed through the bill this sitting week of parliament, though there were new clauses members and CFA volunteers hadn't seen.
"An element that will affect volunteers is related to the right of veto and the review board that will be developed to recommend appointments to the CFA," she said.
"The positions on that four-person board are heavily tilted towards United Firefighters Union members, which means who is eligible will be heavily restricted. As an example, there is no lateral entry: Someone who has been in South Australia's Country Fire Service for 30 years won't be eligible because they haven't come up through the metropolitan fire brigade.
"There are a number of longstanding vacant positions in District 17, and this puts enormous pressure on the team."
Ms Kealy said she was also worried about the potential closure of fire stations across Victoria, saying it would reduce the personnel available to provide support during major fire events in areas such as the Grampians.
She said there were 110 CFA brigades in Lowan, more than any other electorate in Victoria.
What else is changing
A state government spokeswoman said the new Fire Rescue Victoria would cover existing Metropolitan Fire Brigade boundaries and the response zones associated with the 38 integrated and career CFA station response zones, serving metropolitan Melbourne, outer urban areas and large regional centres across Victoria.
The Wimmera does not have an integrated fire station.
"To ensure an orderly transition to these arrangements, the new model will not come into effect until mid-2020, which will mean no change for the upcoming 2019/20 fire season," she said.
"An implementation Monitor will be established for 10 years to ensure strong and independent oversight of the reforms and the ongoing operation of Fire Rescue Victoria and the CFA."
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.