Ten fires burning across region

FOLLOWING the heat and wind experienced across the state last Thursday, a band of lightning ignited a substantial amount of fires across Gippsland.

The lightning moved slowly across the region into far east Gippsland overnight into Friday, providing fire fighters with challenging conditions.

At the time the Gippsland Times went to print Monday morning, there were 10 bushfires not yet controlled burning in east Gippsland.

Access to most of the strikes was restricted because of the danger of falling trees and the steep, remote country where the majority of these fires were located.

Gippsland regional controller Ben Rankin said although the weather was cooler and the wind had dropped considerably, a lot of these fires were in remote areas, making them difficult to combat.

Coupled with the extremely dry conditions east Gippsland has experienced over the past three years, it means some of these fires will continue to be be difficult to control.

“Our ground crews are battling to access some of these fires because of the steep, remote spots they are in,” Mr Rankin said.

“This is where our planes and helicopters become indispensable. However people need to be aware that we need to prioritise which fires are worked on first.”

The majority of fires are north of Bairnsdale, stretching up as far as Shannonvale in the far north of the region.

In particular, in the Gelantipy area there are several fires currently active.

Crews supported by heavy machinery and aircraft are working on containment line construction and actively directly attacking the fires.

Other fires are located east of Bruthen, in the Mitchell River National Park and to the west of Ensay.

Several other fires have also been contained over the past couple of days, allowing resources from these fires to be directed elsewhere.

Support from other regions has been forthcoming, allowing more work to be conducted over a much larger area when conditions allow.

“There is a significant body of work to be done if these fires are to be contained,” Mr Rankin said.

“We are utilising every resource available to us and that includes ground crews, heavy machinery and aircraft.

“It is important though that our communities remain vigilant, have their fire plans in place and seek information from more than one source.”

Aircraft will continue to monitor the greater Gippsland area following the band of lightning that traversed the region Thursday night to assist in the detection of any new fires.

The community are reminded to stay informed and seek information from a range of trusted sources including the Vic Emergency App and emergency broadcasters.

For up to date information and advice regarding bushfires, visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au or on the VicEmergency app, or by phoning the VicEmergency hotline on 1800 226 226.