Lightning strikes keep fire crews busy

Lightning strikes keep fire crews busy

15 February 2007

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Victoria, Australia — Lightning strikes have sparked almost 80 new firesacross Victoria in the past two days, with more thunder storms expected onFriday.

Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) spokesman said most of thefires had been doused and only four were not yet under control.

The fires have burnt less than 40 hectares in the Upper Murray area east ofWodonga, Murrindindi and Ovens districts.

Twenty DSE tankers have been deployed and about 100 fire fighters arefighting the blazes.

The spokesman said the new fires were sparked by intense lightning activityacross the state since Wednesday night, but crews had moved rapidly to controlthem.

DSE state duty officer Richard Alder said more lightning strikes are expectedon Friday, with temperatures rising to the high 30s for the weekend.

But strong northerly winds are not expected until Sunday, he said.

“The wind might get a little bit fresh on Sunday. It’s still an awkwardsituation,” Mr Alder said.

The north east and alpine areas are at high risk of further fire threatsduring the hot spell and the DSE is urging residents to be on alert.

Victorian firefighters are also assisting crews in NSW on a 2,800-hectareblaze burning out of control north-west of Walwa.

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