Australia — AN out-of-control bushfire burning near the Victorian ski fields has prompted resort staff to use snow machines to protect infrastructure.
Authorities issued an emergency warning to residents of Mount Hotham, Hotham Heights and Dinner Plain on Thursday afternoon (AEDT) as a 5000-hectare bushfire that began near Harrietville on January 21 flared close to the towns.
Residents were told it was too late to leave the town, and parts of the Great Alpine Road were closed.
Mt Hotham ski resort management board chief executive Jim Atteridge said embers from the Harrietville fire sparked one spot fire in the village below the Hotham police station and two fires on the ski fields.
Mr Atteridge estimated there were 40 or 50 people in the village, including a full complement of resort administration staff.
A CFA spokeswoman said an additional 120 firefighters were being sent to the area.
Fire crews and resort staff were using snow machines to fight the spot fires, she said.
“We’re not expecting properties to be affected, but some ski infrastructure could be damaged,” the spokeswoman told AAP on Thursday night.
A staff member at the Dinner Plain Hotel said the bushfire threat had forced most people out of town.
“Summers up here are usually great, but it’s a ghost town at the moment,” he told AAP.
“These fires have been a bit of a kick in the arse.”