Clarkefield Primary School in Melbourne’s north has been closed amid nearby fire activity

Clarkefield Primary School in Melbourne’s north has been closed amid nearby fire activity

10 February 2014

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Australia — A PRIMARY school has been closed and at least one house destroyed in the wake of the Mickleham grassfires.

Residents remain on high alert as fire crews battle the fire.

Leader will update from the area as information comes to hand.

Stay safe and enact your bushfire plans if in affected areas.

Update: 4.15pm: PARENTS have been called to collect students from Clarkefield Primary School with an emergency warning issued for the town.

Acting principal Michael Haniff said while fire activity seemed some distance away from the school, calls were made to the parents of its 32 students as soon as the warning was issued.

“I’m not prepared to take any risks,” Mr Haniff said.

“We’ve seen smoke in the distance all day but the warning is a quite a different scenario.”

The emergency warning was issued at 3pm saying a fast moving and out of control grassfire is travelling from Boggy Gate Rd, Clarkefield towards Darraweit Guim.

Updated emergency warnings are also current for Forbes, Springfield, Bylands, Wallan, Darraweit Guim, Goldie, Goldie North, Tantaraboo, Willowmavin, Chintin, Kilmore and Kilmore East.

Update: 2.40pm: THE number of damaged homes and properties in Hume from the Mickleham fire could be a lot higher than anticipated, Hume Council has warned.

Damage assessments have started with initial estimates showing at least one house has been lost, with council awaiting confirmation on the status of another home.

Thirty-five people have attended relief centres at Craigieburn Leisure Centre and Boardman Stadium in Sunbury, with one family provided with overnight accommodation.

Those in Sunbury who have been affected by the Dalrymple Rd fire can attend an information session at 6pm tonight at the Riddells Creek Leisure Centre and Gisborne Mechanics’ Institute Hall.

For details on emergency relief centres, call council on 9205 2200 or the Victorian Emergency Recovery Information Line on 1300 799 232.

Update 12.45pm: A WATCH and act has been issued for Monegeeta, Monegeeta North and Romsey.

CFA has advised the Mickleham fire is not yet under control, with weather conditions causing the flames to spread and move towards Romsey.

Residents are reminded that leaving now is the safest option.

People can travel to the relief centre set up at the Gisborne Community Centre in Hamilton St, Gisborne, or to the home of family and friends away from the warning area.

Update 12.35pm: MICKLEHAM resident Greg Gsodam was away while the blaze erupted, but said things were fine at his Arcadia Ave property.

“We’ve still got power up and everything,” he said.

“(It) was the next street over from where we were.

“We went for a drive last night and saw a house that had been burnt down and trees … that (were) still burning.

“It’s made a bit of a mess.

“From where it went through it was pretty fast.”

Meanwhile, schools across fire-affected areas have closed today including Mickleham Primary School.

Assumption College in Kilmore and The Kilmore International School shut this morning, while others schools in Kilmore, Wallan, Willowmavin, Pyalong and Darraweit Guim have also closed.

Update 11.25am: BEVERIDGE residents Sally and Matthew Bannister said despite being in Geelong when the fires began, their action plan was in place.

“The estate was being evacuated and we weren’t able to go home,” Ms Bannister said.

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She had no way of knowing how their house or dog had fared until they were able to go back to the house about 6pm yesterday.

“Everything was fine,” Ms Bannister said.

“Driving out this morning it was actually surprising how close it was when you can see all the paddocks and everything all burnt black.

“Beveridge at the moment is pretty much clear unless the wind direction (changes).”

But there wasn’t much sleep for the couple overnight, with Ms Bannister admitting she was checking her phone regularly for fire updates.

“(We were) trying to decipher what the updates mean on the apps and what updates people are getting,” she said.

“(But the) action plans are in, all ready to go.”

11.07am: HUME mayor Casey Nunn has warned residents to expect “substantial damage” as grassfires continue to blaze around Mickleham.

The fires are believed to have started after a gumtree fell on a powerline in Mickleham Rd yesterday.

It is understood at least one property in Mickleham had been destroyed.

The fire has spread north, with emergency warnings in place for Goldie, Goldie North, Tantaraboo, Willowmavin, Kilmore and Kilmore East.

Warnings for Mickleham, Beveridge, Kalkallo and Clarkefield have been downgraded to a watch and act, however residents are reminded that leaving now is the safest option should conditions suddenly change.

Cr Nunn, a former CFA volunteer and now CERT team member, said council was devastated by the events of the past 24 hours.

“We’re hoping today to get a bit more of an accurate picture of the amount of damage that’s occurred but our fears are that there’s substantial damage in the area,” she said.

“The response from the community was unbelievable.

“We’ve had volunteers led by the CFA who responded promptly and professionally.

“We had the SES volunteering at the station to assist and we had the volunteer CERT team cleaning volunteers’ eyes. But the risk is still present.”

Cr Nunn warned residents to remain vigilant and hopes people will allow fire trucks clear entry and exit to Craigieburn.

Relief centres were set up yesterday at the Craigieburn Leisure Centre as well as at Boardman Stadium in Sunbury.

A main relief centre was also set up in Wallan, while Craigieburn fire station is being used to feed firefighters.

There is an an out-of-control grassfire travelling north from Kilmore-Lancefield Rd towards High Camp.

Road closures apply for Kilmore-Lancefield Rd and Darraweit Rd between Old Sydney Rd, Wallan and Darraweit Valley Track, Wallan.

There are also road closures on Mount Ridley Rd between the Hume Highway and Mickleham Rd; Donnybrook Rd between the Hume Highway and Mickleham Rd; and Gums Gully Rd between the Hume Highway and Old Sydney Rd.

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