Vic fire crews brace for ‘significant’ bushfire battle

Vic fire crews brace for ‘significant’ bushfire battle

5 December 2006

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Australia — Fire crews are battling about 50 fires across Gippsland, in south-east Victoria, and in the state’s north-west.

Crews have worked through the night tackling the blazes, which are not threatening homes at this stage.

Forecast strong winds are expected to push fires burning in Gippsland’s high country towards the south today.

Fires are burning north of Woods Point and Licola, north-east of Dargo, and in the foothills north of Briagolong.

Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) incident controller Bob Brinkman says control lines have been established on fires near Licola and at Mt Cynthia in the Wonnangatta Valley.

He says despite calm conditions overnight, the fire activity was high because of the dry air and fuel loads.

He says fire crews will have a busy day today defending the control lines established overnight.

“Fires will move today, we do expect them to spread,” he said.

“We’re obviously hoping to hold the fires that we worked on last night, but … there’s still a number of uncontained fires north of Heyfield up towards Wonnangatta.”

The Country Fire Authority has declared a day of total fire ban across Victoria today.

Residents around the Licola, Dargo, Woods Point and Whitfield areas are being urged to be on high alert and ensure their fire actions plans are in place.

The DSE’s Kevin Monk says crews are bracing themselves for a horror few days.

“I’d say that we’re looking at some of the worst conditions we’ve seen probably in 100 years, so look I think if the fires of 2002/2003 were significant, I think these will be just as significant,” he said.

“The interesting thing is these fires have occurred basically on the western edge of the other alpine fire.”

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