Loch Sport fire deliberately lit?

FIRE investigators believe a blaze which burnt 730 hectares of land near Loch Sport may have been deliberately lit.

Fire crews have now contained the Loch Sport – Spoon Bay Track Fire in coastal vegetation south-west of Loch Sport, following a large co-ordinated effort by the Department of Sustainability and Environment, the Country Fire Authority, Victoria Police and SP AusNet

The fire, which started early Thursday morning, burnt through 730 hectares of land in the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park.

DSE incident controller Laurie Jeremiah said as wet weather moved in crews were able to build strong control lines, and blacked out on the edges.

“There’s been a fair bit of planned burning done in this area over the past few years which has reduced the fuel load, and that has really helped the effort to contain the fire.

“An advice message still applies to the area, and we ask residents and visitors to areas around Loch Sport, Seacombe and Golden Beach to continue monitoring conditions, and to stay in touch with what is going on by listening to local radio,” he said.

“The road into Loch Sport is now open and people planning to visit the area over school holidays are welcome, but there are speed restrictions in place because of smoke and slow moving machinery and we ask that they drive safely and drive to the conditions.”

Rain at the weekend helped to further dampen the fire.

However, CFA and DSE crews will continue to monitor the fire in advance of warm weather predicted this week.

On Thursday 115 personnel worked on the fire from DSE, CFA, Victoria Police and SP AusNet.

A total 39 slip-on units and seven dozers were used in the suppression effort and an aeroplane and helicopter were used for aerial monitoring.

The fire is thought to have been deliberately lit, and people are being asked to report any suspicious activity to the Sale Police on 5143 5000 or to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.