Threat eases from big bushfire

Threat eases from big bushfire

02 February 2011

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Australia — THE threat posed by a large fire in East Gippsland that is believed to have destroyed at least three homes yesterday was expected to be downgraded last night as conditions on the ground improved.

The 4000-hectare blaze continued to burn out of control as it pushed east.

But as conditions cooled and the wind slowed, the warning level was scheduled to be downgraded late last night.
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Earlier in the day, residents in about 10 towns were urged to evacuate or enact their bushfire plans as the fire continued to spread and launch ember attacks up to four kilometres away.

Just before 10pm, the CFA reported that two homes in the small community of Wombat Creek had been destroyed, along with some sheds.

Earlier in the night, the CFA said a home and two sheds burnt down in Tostaree while several other homes had been threatened.

Authorities said it was too early to determine the cause of the blaze, which started around 1pm. But a high temperature of around 41 degrees in the area and strong winds fuelled the flames.

A wind change about 6pm saw the fire start moving in a north-easterly direction towards Tostaree and Wombat Creek.

Last night, residents in those communities, along with those in Jarrahmond, Newmerella, Waygara, Bete Bolong North, Corringle, Simpsons Creek and Bete Bolong were told to remain on alert despite the possibility of the imminent downgrading of the threat to a ”watch and act” advisory.

A spokeswoman at the incident control centre in Gippsland said it was impossible to say if the threat would be raised again today.

The fire was one of several to start in yesterday’s hot conditions, with fires around Gippsland including in the Hunterston area and outside Inverloch.

They were both under control by yesterday afternoon without any structural damage.

Regional controller Mark Reid said everyone in Gippsland needed to be aware of the threat.

”I want to remind Gippsland communities that while there has been rainfall in other parts of Victoria, Gippsland has not benefited from this and all residents need to continue to plan for bushfire,” he said.

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