Napthine visits damaged Vic community

Napthine visits damaged Vic community

29 March 2013

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Australia — Sixty fire trucks are still involved in fighting a bushfire in Victoria’s west that destroyed at least one home and became a catastrophic code red blaze at its peak.

Premier Denis Napthine is touring the damaged community, about 100km west of Melbourne, today.

One house and a shed are confirmed lost in the fire that ravaged the area of Dereel, however it’s feared that at least a dozen other properties have also been impacted.

But Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley says initial reports indicate any damage won’t be serious.

‘The fire’s gone up around another number of other properties,’ he told ABC Radio on Thursday.

‘They’ll have damage to them, but … they’ll still be able to be occupied.’

The bushfire, which started around 11.30am on Wednesday, is now contained and has been downgraded to a slow moving blaze with a watch and act classification.

At its peak, however, it spread rapidly to cover about 1200 hectares and reached a catastrophic code red category for 45 minutes – the state’s highest fire alert.

‘It was a pretty dynamic environment,’ Mr Lapsley told the Nine Network.

‘The intensity was significant.’

Four firefighters injured after their truck slammed into a tree in thick smoke have been released from hospital with minor burns, he said.

A CFA spokesman told AAP on Thursday morning officials were still unable to confirm the full extent of the bushfire damage.

Residents had fled the area and crews spent the night strengthening containment lines.

It is hoped, with the fire now under control, authorities and residents will be able to return to the area to assess the damage.

Police will also want to inspect the fire ground in a bid to confirm how the fire started.

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