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North East fires update -7.00 pm … 13/12/2006

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This update covers the North East Alps, Mansfield and Ovens (Bright/Tawonga) fire complexes.

Today has seen extensive backburning, blacking out and consolidation of containment lines ahead of tomorrows hotter conditions.

Current Fire Situation

All residents in affected areas are advised to remain vigilant and implement their fire plans.

North East Alpine Fire Complex

The fire has burnt approximately 180,870 hectares and consists of all the fires in the Ovens and Wangaratta areas. This fire has now joined with the Darling Cynthia Fire in Gippsland.

This fire has remained quiet today with little growth in fire area.

In the Carboor/Edi Sector (Black Range) fire activity has been quiet and is being maintained and monitored by local brigades.

In the Rose River/Paradise Falls fire activity has diminished. The Rose River community has been secured and work continues to blackout control lines and ensure embers from falling trees do not throw embers across containment lines. In Paradise Falls the fire is well contained.

Bright Tawonga Gap fire

The Bright-Tawonga Gap fire has burnt across 9,500 ha, is currently active around Big Hill and is threatening Tawonga and Tawonga South. This fire is slowly moving downhill towards Tawonga, Tawonga South and Simmons Creek and along the Great Alpine Road to Harrietville.

Residents in Tawonga and Tawonga South are advised to activate their fire plans and should remain on the look out for burning embers that may be landing around their property and take all measures to put them out as they arrive.

Containment lines are currently being constructed to the South East near Bogong Village and Big Hill, with the aim of containing the fire within Roper Spur, Bogong High Plains Road and a containment line from Bogong Village.

Mansfield Fire Complex

Threat Messages have been issued for the following areas:

Kevington, Gaffney’s Creek, A1 Mine, Glencairn: The fire is still burning in this area and residents must continue to be vigilant if they choose to stay.

The Mansfield complex is estimated to have burnt 35,400ha and includes the Mt. Teribble and Governors fires.

The forecasted north winds are expected to push the Mt Terrible fire in a southerly direction and residents within the following areas need to activate their fire plans, remain vigilant and stay alert for threat messages that may be issued:

  • Jamieson district
  • Burns Bridge
  • Sawmill Settlement
  • Timber Top and
  • Barragunda
  • Merrijig
  • Mirimbah
  • Mt Buller
  • Woods Point
  • Matlock and surrounds

Thompson Water Catchment Protection

Work continues in the Thompson and Upper Yarra Catchments to construct fallback contingencies in an effort to protect our water catchments and rural communities in these areas. Australian Army Crews commenced work today on the Mt. Selma Road area and joined together with DSE and Melbourne Water Crews working to complete fall back lines to contain the western spread of the fire. Backburning operations are planned for Friday to consolidate these lines.

Key Safety Messages

People who intend to stay need to ensure that they:

  • Are physically and mentally prepared to defend their home;
  • Have a comprehensive plan, reliable water supply and fire fighting equipment;
  • Have adequate cleared space around their house;

If residents do not have these things in place, they should leave well before the fire threatens their local area.

Residents who plan to defend their homes must ensure that they are wearing the correct clothing. Residents should wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, sturdy boots, and a broad brimmed hat. On no account should synthetic material be worn.

As the front of the fire approaches, it will become unsafe to be either on foot or in a car as the heat radiating from the fire will be intense. Residents should avoid being exposed to radiant heat at all costs, and should make use of structures like their homes to shelter as the fire front passes.

Residents are reminded that after a fire front passes, embers may continue to arrive for several hours, and should not lessen their work to protect their homes. Residents should continue to patrol their homes and check roof spaces, under-floor spaces, and areas where leaves commonly gather to ensure that nothing is burning.

Community Meetings

A number of community meetings have been scheduled. Click here for list of community meetings.


Written by Greg Naylor

13 December 2006 at 6:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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