Large fires have joined

FIRES continued to burn out of control in Wellington Shire’s north when the Gippsland Times went to print Monday morning, with two fires east of Licola joining together on Sunday.

Joining just after 1pm, the Licola-Mt Margaret Track fire and Moroka Mt Wellington fire is now one fire under the name of Licola-Mt Margaret Track, bringing the total fire size to 64,139 hectares.

While it continued to burn uncontained at the time of print, it did not pose any immediate threat to life or property.

Ground crews, supported by heavy machinery, are continuing to work in the area, building containment lines on the south-eastern edge of the fire.

A containment line is being built on the southern interface between public and private land, to protect assets between Bulldog Junction and to the west of Old Moroka Rd.

Crews have also been working on the northern edge of this fire, supported by heavy machinery.

Cloud cover, coupled with heavy smoke, has limited air operations, and smoke has been visible to communities in the area.

For Tuesday, authorities are predicting a high (70 per cent) chance of showers for Valencia Creek, Briagolong and surrounding areas, most likely in the morning and afternoon.

Light winds will become westerly, blowing at 20 to 30 kilometres per hour during the morning.

Overnight temperatures will fall to between 11 and 14, with daytime temperatures reaching between 16 and 22.

Near Dargo, two fires were still burning out of control at the time of print.

The Mt Darling-Cynthia Track and the Wongungarra-Mt Darling fires have now joined about 18km north-west of Dargo, with an overall size of about 20,000 hectares.

The Hibernia Black Snake Creek fire, which sparked just 1.6 kilometres north-west of Dargo, continues to burn out of control.

The Dargo-Punchen Budweed Divide fire, about 5km east of Dargo, was declared contained, but crews continue to monitor the area.

Burning out operations have been continuing on the Hibernia Black Snake Creek fire at Lanes Rd/The Traill Break, about three kilometres south-west of Dargo, and just north west of the Hurley Break, 2.5km north-west of Dargo.

As a result, there has been a significant increase in smoke in the Dargo area.

Local crews are being assisted by firefighters from New South Wales and South Australia.

For Tuesday, authorities are predicting a cloudy outlook for Dargo, with a medium (50 per cent) chance of showers, most likely in the morning and afternoon.

Light winds will become west to south-westerly, blowing at 20 to 30kmh during the morning.

Overnight temperatures will fall to between nine and 16 degrees,with daytime temperatures reaching between 18 and 23.

VicEmergency is encouraging people to not phone 000 to report fires unless flames or a solid column of smoke are visible.

To prevent contamination of water tanks, authorities are advising people to properly seal them before disconnecting downpipes as soon as there is a bushfire risk.

Downpipes should only be reconnected once the roof has been cleaned after the fire, either by hand or after heavy rain.

Authorities are encouraging residents to use multiple sources to stay informed, such as visiting, phoning the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226, or using the VicEmergency app.

Residents will need to provide proof of residency to obtain access to these roads:

• Licola Rd (at Kellehers Rd, Glenmaggie) — Preventing vehicles travelling north.

• Jamieson Licola Rd between Mt Sunday Rd and Licola Rd (in both directions).

• Bairnsdale-Dargo Rd- Wallers Rd (at Coonawarra) — Preventing vehicles travelling north.

These roads are also closed:

• Dargo Rd-Wallers Rd north of Cobbanah.

• Dargo High Plains Rd north of Upper Dargo to the Great Alpine Rd.

The foothills and Southern Alps warea of the Alpine National Park are now closed.

For more information phone 13 19 63 or visit the Parks Victoria website or