Containment lines strengthened

THERE’S been varying levels of rainfall across Gippsland, which has meant firefighting efforts have been targeted to strengthening containment lines by hand and machinery.

Crews are continuing to patrol containment lines, putting out any hotspots they find, but the rain has meant it will be a few more days before back burns can be considered as an additional method to consolidate fire edges.

Gippsland regional controller Ray Jasper said planning was being progressed for a combination of increased direct attacks on hotspots and backburns on the Walhalla and Timbarra fires.

“The three incident control centres looking after these fires are developing detailed planning of what these increased direct attacks and back burns may look like if they go ahead when conditions are right” he said.

“We need a combination of optimal conditions including ideal temperatures, fuel moisture, ground fuel loads, and we need to be well resourced with firefighters and aircraft.

“We will also ensure we keep nearby landowners and the wider community well-informed if we do go ahead with increased backburning when conditions are improved, and will continue to update our daily advice messages at this point.

“Today we’re carrying out patrols around the fire grounds to get an even clearer picture of what patches are most active and what impact recent rainfalls have had on the fires.”

At the fire near Walhalla (currently 8671 hectares in size), crews are targeting the Walhalla and Coopers Creek areas.

For the Timbarra fire (20,477ha), crews are focusing mostly on the Gelantipy side of the fire, on the south eastern edge.

The Thomson Divide fire (6307ha) is continuing to hold well within its containment lines.

The fire west of Licola Rd, Glenfolloch, has been declared “All Clear”.

“I’d like to again reiterate that Gippsland is well and truly open for the business,” Mr Jasper said.

“We just ask that you stay informed about the fires through a variety of channels available to you, including the VicEmergency website, the VicEmergency app, the VicEmergency hotline on 1800 226 226, local radio and official social media sources.