Increased fire weather conditions expected

Updated 9.30am 19/2/13

INCREASED fire weather conditions are expected over the next three days.

Regional controller Grange Jephcott has strongly urged Gippslanders to monitor the current fire situation and review their bushfire survival plans.

“We have crews working on all of the Gippsland fires and don’t expect that any of these will impact directly on communities today, however communities must be aware of any new fire that may start,” he said.

“I encourage residents not to rely on one source of bushfire warnings, but to seek information from multiple sources including radio, websites and the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (1800 240 667).”

A new fire, the Dargo-Matheson Track fire, was started by lightning strike on Friday.

The fire, nine kilometres north of Dargo, is 837 hectares and is currently out of control in very steep and heavily fuelled forest.

This fire is currently burning in a north-north-easterly direction and posing no threats to communities.

Ground crews, bulldozers, and aircraft have worked very hard towards constructing a containment lines and protecting assets along the Dargo River.

On Sunday crews constructed control lines, and continued water bombing.

Smoke may be visible from nearby communities and roads.

THE Harrietville-Alpine South fire is about 14,052ha, and is being controlled.

There remains some active fire edge within the containment lines in the south of the fire area.

Combined, the Harrietville-Alpine South and Harrietville-Alpine North fires are 30,700ha on public and private land.

New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory fire crews will be assisting in the fire fighting efforts over the next few weeks.

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 townships, increased fire fighting activity, and a greater number of emergency vehicles travelling in the area.

The Great Alpine Rd is closed between Dinner Plain and Harrietville due to active fire threatening the road.

The road section between Hotham Heights and Harrietville is closed with emergency access only.

The road section between Dinner Plain and Hotham Heights is only open to emergency services and local access is restricted to residents, property owners and business owners with photo identification.

Dargo High Plains Rd is closed between Dargo and the Great Alpine Rd. Road users are advised to seek an alternate route.

THE Aberfeldy-Donnellys fire has burnt through about 84,536 hectares and has a 371 kilometre perimeter. The fire has been burning for 31 days.

DSE, CFA and Parks Victoria personnel continue to work to control this fire.

A 58ha fire with a 3.5km perimeter is currently burning in the Mt Clear-Coleman Creek area of the Alpine National Park. This area is quite remote however neighbouring communities may see smoke.

Two small fires in the Thomson catchment area five kilometres south-west of Matlock has been contained.

The aim of authorities is to secure control lines and complete burning around the Licola Valley to protect private property.

Control lines have been constructed along both sides of the Licola Valley to the east and west of Licola.

The west side control line runs parallel to Jamieson-Licola Rd and south towards Mt Useful along a newly made line and Serpentine Creek Track.

CFA and DSE crews are based in Licola.

Backburning operations are planned in the northern area of the fire and increased smoke may be visible.

The areas of Burgoynes Gap and Mount Useful continue to be patrolled.Resources deployed to the fire will vary according to weather conditions.

Availability of aircraft is dependent on the needs of other fire incidents around the state.

Currently there are 262 personnel, 59 fire fighting appliances (six tankers and 53 slip-ons) and 23 dozers.

Backburning operations in the area will continue when weather conditions allow.

Heyfield-Licola Rd remains closed at the junction of Kellehers Rd through to Jamieson. Local access is restricted to residents, property owners and business owners with photo ID.

Speed restrictions are in place and local road users in the area should proceed with caution and watch out for fire fighting vehicles, personnel and machinery.