Cool change helps fire crews

Updated 1.45pm 25/1/13:

A COOL change has assisted efforts to fight the Aberfeldy-Donnelly fire.

A south-westerly wind arrived this morning, blowing the fire away from populated areas.

Winds were predicted to gust at up to 90km/h, but only got to 70km/h in elevated areas and 60km/h elsewhere.

As of this morning, the Aberfeldy-Donnelly fire was 67,989 hectares in size with a current perimeter of more than 416 kilometres. 

Significant resources, consisting of in excess of 500 agency personnel, more than 150 vehicles, and a mix of specialised aircraft are involved in fighting the fire.

Overnight, the fire continued to burn out to constructed control lines north-east of Walhalla and north-west of Coongulla. The fire has not breached control lines as of daybreak.

DSE and CFA is pleased Thursday’s forecast wind speeds weren’t as fast as predicted, allowing blacking out to be consolidated overnight and further fire fighting activities to occur during daylight hours. 

The wind change from a northerly to a south-westerly is expected to increase fire activity significantly within control lines.

If the Aberfeldy-Donnelly fire does breach control lines, fire agencies will be putting pre-planned contingency arrangements in place and will give highest priority to warning local communities about potential fire spread and impacts.

Additional traffic points will be put in place if the fire breaks control lines. Emergency evacuation routes have been planned.

The fire danger rating for Gippsland is “Very High”. A total fire ban is in place for the West and South Gippsland fire district.

Some roads may still be under restricted access, check the Vicroads website,, for details.

Motorists are advised to drive to the conditions and slow down in smokey areas. They are also urged to be on the look out for fire fighters and equipment and slow down and be cautious.

People who see smoke haze should check the CFA website or call VBIL on 1800 240 667 for warnings in their area.

If people are experiencing symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024 or seek medical advice.

Relief centres are open at:

Sale: Gippsland Regional Sports Complex, Cobains Rd

Moe: Moe Town Hall , Albert St

Traralgon: Preforming Arts Centre, corner Grey and Breed Sts.

Contact DHS, Red Cross or the Wellington Shire by their websites or on 1300 137 218

For 24-hour injured wildlife and stock and domestic animals assistance phone 136 186.

Residents should stay informed about their local conditions which could change.

Be sure to use more than one source of information such as the CFA website (, the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667, emergency broadcasters on ABC radio, commercial radio and designated community radio stations, Sky News, or follow CFA via Twitter (@cfa_updates) and Facebook (/cfavic) or the FireReady app.

Be prepared to leave early or prepare to actively defend your property if you are both physically and mentally able according to your local conditions.