CREWS have contained the last two bushfires burning in Gippsland.
The largest fire burning in the east of the state, the Aberfeldy-Donnellys fire was contained yesterday afternoon about 4.30pm, and the smaller, East Caledonia-Howitt Track fire was contained earlier in the day.
‘Contained’ means the spread of the fire has been halted, but it may still be burning within the perimeter.
Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said there were currently no going bushfires in Victoria.
“It has been an arduous 43 days for the crews and incident management team working around the clock on the Aberfeldy fire in extremely remote and rugged terrain,” he said.
“The fire has burnt over 85,000 hectares making it the biggest fire in the state this season.
“There has been about 70 millimetres of rain in the past 48 hours near Licola which has really helped reduce fire behaviour, but the hard work from crews is what really made a difference to this fire.
“Over 300 kilometres of control line has been built to limit the spread of the fire – that’s the equivalent of the length of the Hume Highway from Melbourne to Albury.
“The hard work of DSE, Parks Victoria and CFA crews over the past few months cannot be underestimated.
“Thousands of hours of work have been put in to protect people, properties and communities. And for that I would like to say thank you.”
Mr Lapsley said crews would move into recovery mode, assisted by crews from New South Wales and New Zealand.
“February is traditionally the worst month for fires, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” he said.
“Recent rain in some parts of the state has provided some respite, but coming into March with a string of warm days, grasslands will dry out quickly and the fire risk will return.
“There will still be some national park, forest and road closures while the clean-up continues and there remains a risk of landslides and falling trees so anyone travelling needs to check with the relevant authorities for local conditions before heading out.”
Crews on Wednesday contained the Harrietville Alpine North and South fires and the Grampians fires.
The Harrietville fire covered an area of about 36,000 hectares and the Grampians fire just over 35,000 hectares.