Back burning continues in High Country

Updated 12.30pm 12/2/13

THERE continues to be a large increase in smoke around the Dinner Plain area as back burning activity continues.

The Harrietville-Alpine South fire is about 9232 hectares, and is not yet under control. Combined, the Harrietville-Alpine South and Harrietville-Alpine North fires are 26,100 hectares.

The fire remains active in the Dargo River valley area north of Dargo, however cooler weather conditions have resulted in a decrease in fire activity for the time being.

The fire continues to burn in steep, rugged terrain with limited access for on-ground fire fighter crews.

The control of the fire around Hotham Heights and Dinner Plains areas will transfer to the Swifts Creek Incident Control Centre from 8am this morning.

The focus of firefighters is on both asset protection and back burning to contain the fire.

Ongoing asset protection, suppression and patrolling activities continue around Mt Hotham, Dinner Plain and Dargo, with additional crews arriving to assist with this work. Significant amounts of back burning are planned over the coming days, while weather conditions permit, to both establish and strengthen control lines around these fires.

Areas of sensitive natural values including cultural heritage places, threatened species and critical breeding habitat have been identified and protective works undertaken.

It’s important that residents and visitors to Dinner Plain, Hotham Heights, Dargo and surrounding areas continue to monitor conditions and to be able to activate their Bushfire Survival Plan when needed. Residents and visitors to the area are asked to take extra care when travelling on local roads, as they are likely to experience increased smoke across roads and in the community, increased firefighting activity, and a greater number of emergency vehicles travelling in the area.

The Great Alpine Rd is closed at the intersection from Mt Hotham airport to Harrietville. Access is restricted to essential services and permit holders only.

The Dargo High Plains Rd is closed from the Upper Dargo Rd to the Great Alpine Rd.

The townships of Dargo and Omeo are open for business.

For up to date road closure information visit www.vicroads.vic.gov.au

The Alpine National Park near Mt Feathertop is closed. For more information about forest closures visit the Parks Victoria website, www.parks.vic.gov.au

For information on fires in Victoria and general fire safety, phone the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on freecall 1800 240 667 or visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au

Callers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech/communication impairment may contact VBIL via the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677.