Two bushfires merge in the Grampians in Victoria’s southwest

Two bushfires merge in the Grampians in Victoria’s southwest

18 February 2013

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Australia — TWO large bushfires in the Grampians in Victoria’s southwest have merged to form one out-of-control bushfire about 3260ha in size.

The Clutterbucks Rd fire, which was burning just 1km away from the Jensen’s Rd blaze, was under control until the flames spilled over the protective barriers at 3pm.

The blazes soon after combined, moving closer to communities.

Victoria’s Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the fire had moved from bushland into private land.

A wind change due tonight would have an impact on the blaze, he said.

“We have a lot of resources in place but certainly it is a very dry area and certainly we will see significant fire move through Victoria Valley,” he said.

Farming communities in the area have been on alert since the first emergency warning was issued yesterday.

But the Victoria Valley area has been downgraded to a Watch and Act alert.

Meanwhile, a grass fire has destroyed at least one home in Melbourne’s north.

The fast-moving fire, which is travelling in a southerly direction, has burned 2000ha and is out-of-control.

Channel 9 reporter Jo Hall tweeted a picture of a home she said was destroyed in the blaze.

There are no reports of private property being affected at this stage.

A community meeting for concerned Grampians residents was held at the Dunkeld Bowling Club in Dunkeld at 5pm.

The 200 firefighters in the area are being helped by 14 aircraft, including the water-bombing helicopter Elvis.

Mr Lapsley said the communities were well prepared but there was still a danger of spot fires.

The fire broke out on Thursday following lightning strikes.

Mr Lapsley warned Victoria’s bushfire season was far from over.

“I think we’re in for another few weeks yet and you would suggest we’d make it into the early part of March,” he said.

Earlier, a contractor was helping build containment lines around the Glenlogie fire, about 45km east of Ararat, when he was injured in an accident.

The 51-year-old man was working with machinery when he suffered severe injuries to one leg.

“It’s so dry. It’s absolutely baked.

“We don’t necessarily need extreme temperatures and we don’t need extreme winds to see fires move and move pretty quick.”

It comes as hundreds of fires continue to burn around the state.

Since Thursday more than 380 bush and grassfires have started, according to the CFA, with lightening the cause of most.

Firefighters are also continuing to fight the large blazes that have been burning in Gippsland and the alpine region for a month.


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