Calmer conditions assist fire crews

FOREST Fire Management crews took advantage of calmer weather conditions on Thursday to strengthen containment lines around the remaining fires in the region and to check for and respond to any new fires.

Regional controller Ben Rankin said Thursday began with about 15 new fires across the region, of varying sizes.

“All were either small or just one tree,” he said.

“We’ve controlled most of those now and are close to containing other small fires at Wilsons Promontory and north-east of Erica.

“South of Licola, the Greenhills fire has been contained and work will continue on that to check for any hotspots within the containment line, with ground crews blacking out and patrolling the fire area.

“The focus is still on the three large fires at Thomson Divide west of Aberfeldy, Stoney Creek north-east of Walhalla, and Timbarra north of Buchan.

“There is plenty of good planning and ground work being put in to the fires ahead of Sunday’s weather predictions and we’re working hard to minimise further spread of these fires.

“Communities in the vicinity of these fires may see increased smoke as we conduct backburning to strengthen control lines and burning out of fuels remaining within the fire areas, if the weather conditions are suitable.

“Please stay alert and aware of what’s happening in your area through the VicEmergency website, the VicEmergency app and trusted local sources of information.”

Community meetings ahead of Sunday’s predicted hot weather will be held in:

Heyfield on Friday night from 7pm at the Gordon Street Recreation Reserve;

Toongabbie on Saturday from 10am on the Village Green, and

Erica on Saturday from 10am at the Erica Hall.

Informal meetings are being planned for the Gelantipy and Buchan areas.

“We’re keeping a close eye out for any new fires and urge community members to do the same in their local areas,” Mr Rankin said.