Firefighters prepare for extreme fire conditions

MILDER weather conditions during the past few days have allowed fire crews to make good progress on controlling the four major fires in east Gippsland.

With a couple of hot days expected from Tuesday, increasing fire risk, preparation work has been undertaken by the incident management team.

Incident controller Andy Gillham said that the four fires covered more than 46,000 hectares.

“We are continuing to target sections of the fires by back burning and burning out to strengthen our fire control lines,” he said.

“This has proved to be very successful over the past few days.

“To ensure that our local communities are being kept informed, we are continuing our community engagement efforts.”

Mr Gillham said residents in fire-affected areas would continue to see smoke and active fire.

He said because of forecast extreme weather conditions and fires in surrounding areas, as a precaution, the Buchan Caves Reserve would close from Wednesday until Saturday, inclusive.

“This closure may be extended or reopened early, based on the fire activity,” he advised.

“Check on the Parks Victoria website for updates.”

Mr Gillham said the base camp at Swan Reach opened yesterday to more than 300 firefighters and support staff involved in the region’s fire response.

“This is a huge logistical operation and a great effort to get his turned around and operational in three days,” he said.

“As the holiday season kicks off, the region will see a lot of extra tourists and visitors over the coming days and weeks.

“I encourage and urge people coming to the area to ensure they remain vigilant and keep up to date on the current fire situation.”