Gippsland bushfires finally contained

Gippsland bushfires finally contained

3 February 2009

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Australia — Victorian firefighting authorities say they have finally contained the Gippsland bushfires.

Since being ignited last week by arsonists, the fires have burnt almost 6,500 hectares and destroyed 30 homes, 87 sheds and 10 cars.

The Country Fire Authority’s Alan Rankin says the 6,000-hectare Delburn fire in central Gippsland has been contained.

“There will continue to be a significant presence on it for a number of days yet to ensure the fire is thoroughly blacked out and the edges are well secured,” he said.

“Today crews have been using forward-looking infra-red cameras and thermal imaging cameras to identify hot spots and then direct crews to those hot spots to break them up and extinguish them.”

Lightning caused about 100 new fires yesterday and 11 today.

A community meeting is being held in Boolarra tonight to assist bushfire victims and outline the recovery effort.

The State Government has announced a $100,000 reward to help catch the person responsible for the bushfires.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon says she is hoping the reward will lead to some arrests.

“What we’re hoping the reward will do with for people to come forward, perhaps give their names, we’ve had anonymous information, so that we can actually continue to pursue the matter,” she said.

“The more important part is any tools that we can use that encourage the community to give us information, particularly about this matter, we hope that that will prove positive.”

Charges of intentionally starting a bushfire carry a maximum term of 15 years in prison.

Police and the State Government have ruled out introducing a register of known arsonists.

Police Minister Bob Cameron has urged anyone with information about the cause of the fires to come forward.

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