Fire-ravaged Vic town continues clean-up

Fire-ravaged Vic town continues clean-up

15 December 2006

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Australia — Residents of Toongabbie, north of Traralgonin Victoria’s Gippsland, are still cleaning up after fires destroyed homes andsheds on the outskirts of town.

Fire ripped down from the hills and onto private landnear the Cowwarr Weir yesterday afternoon.

Smouldering gum trees are still letting off smoke, andothers were ripped from their roots by the wind.

Paddocks are razed right up to the doorsteps of those whomanaged to save their homes.

At least five houses in the area have been burnt to theground.

Sam Roberts has lived in his house for 73 years and isnow rummaging through the tin that is left.

“I was trying to keep water on the house to save thehouse and when the [fires] are coming through at you, you get out fast,” hesaid.

“You take what you can.”

Premier Steve Bracks is due to arrive in Toongabbie laterthis afternoon.


The town of Dargo was saved from the worst of yesterday’sfire storm by a sudden wind change.

Owner of a Dargo store, Maggie Reeve, says the coolweather has given the town breathing space but the danger is not over.

“No, it’s a matter of time. There’s still a lot ofbush surrounding Dargo closer in that could go under the right conditions,”she said.

“We just hope that that doesn’t happen.”

Meanwhile, Mansfield Shire chief executive Gary Gaffneysays the council will provide emergency accommodation for the residents who losttheir homes in the fire south of Jamieson overnight.

But Mr Gaffney says many of the houses destroyed by firewere holiday properties.

“They were mainly people that were weekenders, notpermanents, but there maybe a couple of permanents that came out the other dayto Jamieson when they decided to leave and not defend,” he said.

“We’ll be working through that with our recoveryagencies.”

Water supply

Authorities say Melbourne’s water supply is still secure,despite two new fires breaking out close to the Thompson Dam catchment lastnight.

The Department of Sustainability and Environment’s (DSE)Duncan Pendrigh says the blazes should be contained today.

“We had a couple of outbreaks of fire inside thecatchment last night but they’re only very small areas,” he said.

“One hectare in one case and 100 hectares in another,and we’ve got control lines around those fires so we’re not expecting anytrouble from those over the next few days.”

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