Updated 1.30pm Sunday:
THE Aberfeldy-Donnely bushfire has claimed confirmed 21 homes and the life of man, it has been confirmed.
With the fires around townships being controlled, CFA and the Department of Sustainability and Environment are undertaking a 180 hectare back burn today.
Incident controller Michael Masters said CFA and DSE would undertake this joint operation today around 10am due to the likelihood of a very high fire weather day predicted for Thursday.
“The risk of high temperatures and a north westerly wind possess a very significant risk to the Aberfeldy-Donnely bushfire breaking containment lines if we don’t back burn today,” he said.
“This critical 180ha backburn will reduce fuel loads in the unburnt area five kilometres south of Glenmaggie and 6km north-west of Heyfield; however smoke will be highly visible from surrounding communities and remind people to take care as smoke may cause health issues,” Mr Masters said.
Fire crews are also working on the eastern perimeter in the Coongulla state forest north-east of Glenmaggie to strengthen containment lines.
The Aberfeldy-Donnely fire has burnt approximately 56,000ha of both private and public land and has some 500 fire crews from many parts of the state working around the clock to fully contain the fire.
Restricted access for local residents/property owners and essential services wishing to access fire affected townships; visit http://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news-in-brief/item/487-.html
The bushfire is being controlled around Coongulla, Cowwarr Weir, Dawson, Glenmaggie, Heyfield, Seaton.
The bushfire in the Licola is being controlled.Smoke may be visible from nearby communities and roads.
The Licola Rd remains closed to the public.
Residents have been told to monitor conditions and check their bushfire survival plan. People without a plan need to decide what they will do if the situation changes.
If time permits, check neighbours to see if they are monitoring conditions. If you are experiencing any symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure, the Department of Health advises people to seek medical advice or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024.
For life or property threatening emergencies phone 000.
For general bushfire information phone the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on freecall 1800 240 667 or visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au
People who have left their homes in the Gippsland area are encouraged to register with Red Cross in person at the relief centre at the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex, Cobains Rd, Sale, online at www.redcross.org.au or phone 1800 727 077.