MORE rain has fallen across parts of Gippsland overnight, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Firefighters and incident management teams are continuing to build and strengthen containment lines at most fires.
Gippsland regional controller Ray Jasper said focusing efforts on containment lines while the weather was mild, put crews in a stronger position to hold the fires and lower the risk of further spreading.
“While the rain and cooler temperatures are welcome, the community still needs to be aware that there are many fires that are still quite active,” he said.
“Fires of this scale unfortunately don’t just go out with a bit of rain, they continue to burn within the fire grounds and can flare up at any time, as it’s still very dry out there.
“This is why we are throwing all our efforts into building and strengthening containment lines at the moment, and in parts also creating fallback lines in strategic locations in case the fires break out.
“The wet weather does mean some planned backburns we’d like to do, to make our containment lines more solid, will have to be put on hold for a few more days at some fires.
“In addition to crews and machinery working on containment lines, we are looking at where we can safely walk further into the fire grounds to black out hotspots identified from our aircraft and to further assess what impact occurred over the weekend.”
The Walhalla is currently 8640 hectares, Timbarra 20477ha and Thomson Divide 6266ha.
A reasonable amount of smoke is in the air, particularly in parts of the Latrobe Valley and south Gippsland.
“We’ve put out an ‘Advice’ message for central and south Gippsland for this smoke, to let these communities know that the air quality is poor in these areas and can be unhealthy for people with sensitivities such as those with existing heart or lung conditions, including asthma, people who are pregnant or over 65,” Mr Jasper said.
“I strongly encourage everyone to continue to stay informed through a variety of channels available to you, by visiting the VicEmergency website, downloading the VicEmergency app, calling 1800 226 226, tuning in to local radio and keeping an eye on social media.”