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North East Bushfire Update 6.30 am – 18 Dec 06

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Update on all the complexes in the North East including Mansfield, Wangaratta and Ovens. 18/12/2006

DSE and CFA have continued work overnight on back burning and the strengthening of containment lines.

In other areas, life is returning to normal – a number of local schools which had been closed will be reopened today, and fire activities in some areas have been reduced to patrolling for hot spots, a task being handed back to local brigades.

Mansfield Complex

During the night DSE and CFA worked on asset protection in the Jamieson/Kevington sector and backburning along Carter Road in the Merrijig sector.

Patrolling continues in the Howquaand Tolmie areas.

Crews working around Mt Buller Alpine Village will concentrate on asset protection, following yesterdays application of fire retardant as a protective measure.

Residents in the Woods Point, Matlock, Jamieson Township and adjacent Jamieson-Licola Road areas, and Lower Howqua should remain vigilant, as crews will be conducting back burning activities in these areas over the next 24 hours.

Communities should be mindful that the back burning will generate smoke and possibly embers, while the roads in the area will be carrying increased traffic, with heavy machinery and fire crews at work.

Great Divide North Complex

Backburning is being conducted in the Mt Buffalo National Park and the Buckland Valley to prevent fire from spreading north-east towards Bright and Wandiligong, and to protect extensive pine plantations to the south of Bright. Crews working in the area have so far completed backburning along a 31 km line. Burning will need to continue for at least another week with another 30 km yet to be completed.

In the Ovens Valley, fire is backing down the east side of the Valley in the Freeburgh area. There is only a low level risk to private property because there is a firebreak along the valley floor from which back burning can be conducted as the need arises. A spot fire in the Twins area on the Great Divide west of Mt Hotham has been active overnight and can be seen from the Great Alpine Road near Mt St Bernard. DSE will conduct an aerial assessment of this remote fire today.

In the Kiewa Valley, CFA crews continue to work hard on containment of fire outside Mt Beauty and on the western side of the Bogong High Plains Road. There was considerable fire activity overnight in an area four kilometres west of the Falls Creek Village. There is a CFA strike team based at Falls Creek and extra resources will be provided over the next few days.

The Alpine National Park remains closed west of the Great Alpine Road, south of Whitfield and the Dargo High Plains. Access into this area from the North East and Gippsland has been closed. The park is also closed west of the Omeo Highway and west of the Great Alpine Road including Mt Bogong, Bogong High Plains and Mt Feathertop.

Mt Buffalo National Park and Nug Nug camping ground are also closed.

Residents in the Whitfield, Mt Beauty, Tawonga, Tawonga South and Harrietville areas are advised to boil water for at least one minute before drinking.

Schools

The Education Department has decided to reopen a number of schools that had been closed as a result of the threat of fire.

Reopened

  • Myrrhee Primary School
  • Whitfield District School
  • Mount Beauty Primary School
  • Mount Beauty Secondary School
  • Tawonga Primary School

Edi Upper Primary School will reopen on Tuesday 19 December.

Reopened for Monday and Tuesday –

  • Harrietville Primary School will be open on Monday 18 December and Tuesday 19 December. A decision as to whether to remain open later in the week will be made on Tuesday.

Closed for the remainder of the year –

  • Jamieson Primary School
  • Merrijig Primary School
  • Bogong Outdoor Education Centre

Parents, school staff and bus operators have been contacted. The school year ends on 21 December.

Road Closures

For full details on road closures in the North East visit www.vicroads.vic.gov.au or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) on 1800 240 667.

For information on fires in Victoria and general fire safety, please contact the VBIL on freecall 1800 240 667. Callers who arfe deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech/communication impairment may call textphone telewriter (TTY) on 1800 122 969. Information is also available at www.dse.vic.gov.au/fires or www.cfa.vic.gov.au.

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Written by Greg Naylor

18 December 2006 at 11:27 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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