Victoria battles to head off huge bushfire

Victoria battlesto head off huge bushfire

2 February 2007

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Australia — Firefighters are continuing to build control lines around a hugebushfire in Victoria’s east with temperatures predicted to soar this weekend.

The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) said fire crews werecontinuing to work on the Great Divide South fire, which started on December 1last year.

The fire has destroyed more than 676,000 hectares of state forest and privateland so far.

DSE said firefighters had been working on control lines and blacking outoperations on both public and private land.

“There is still active fire in the Mount Birregun area, 20km south-westof Cobungra, where the fire continues to burn near the Dargo River,” a DSEspokesman said.

He said crews had been building control lines in that area, with the goal ofcontaining that section of the fire before the onset of higher temperatures thisweekend.

“Burning out in the area approximately 10km south-east of Brookville hasnow been completed and crews will patrol and blackout in this area over thecoming days,” he said.

The Bureau of Meteorology was predicting temperatures to rise into themid-30s tomorrow and up to 38 degrees Celsius on Sunday in eastern Victoria.

About 135 DSE, Country Fire Authority, Canadian and US firefighters werecurrently working the northern edge of the fire.

The spokesman said crews had spent today finding hot spots in forest areasand blacking those out ahead of the weekend.

DSE said firefighters would continue to patrol the fire-affected areas tocheck for any potential fire activity

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