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Grampians Complex fire 20 Feb
There is a large bushfire burning in the Grampians National Park.
This fire is made up of a number of fires started by lightning which have joined together. The size of the fire is now around 14,000 hectares.
Extreme south-easterly winds overnight have pushed the fire over the Victoria Range. The active fire edge is now on the western side of the Victoria Range.
The fire has taken a run to the north overnight and reached the Billywings Plantation area. Planned burning completed last autumn is expected to assist with controlling the spread of fire to the west.
Currently the fire has not reached privately property and is still burning within the Grampians National Park.
There is a current Watch and Act message (12.30PM 20/02/2013) for communities west of the Victoria Range including Woohlpooer, Mooralla and Glenisla. The messaging level may be upgraded or downgraded throughout the course of the day depending on fire conditions.
DSE and CFA advise there is a possibility that the Henty Highway may close and has asked that all visitors leave the Rocklands Reservoir area.
The northern part of the Grampians National Park, including Halls Gap, is open to visitors. The Grampians Tourist Road from Halls Gap to Dunkeld is now open.
The eastern part of burnt area in private land in the Victoria Valley has been quiet. This area is being managed by local CFA crews.
DSE crews will today burn out sections of the park to containment lines. This will generate significant smoke which may be visible by communities in the Victoria Valley and west of the Victoria Range.
To the south east of the Victoria Valley Complex there is a small fire in the Serra Range called the Cassidy Gap fire. This fire is approximately 10 hectares in size and is located in difficult terrain. Firefighters are walking in to attend to this fire each day, and it is also being attacked by water-bombing aircraft. There is a current Advice message for this fire (12.30PM 20/02/2013).
Over 300 personnel from CFA, DSE and Parks Victoria are working on these fires with multiple aircraft including an aircrane. Firefighters from New Zealand and New South Wales have arrived today to assist with the suppression effort.
Community Information Officers from Parks Victoria and CFA have been stationed at the Dunkeld Tourist Information Centre to speak to members of the community about the current situation.
A Community Meeting held this morning at the Mooralla Golf Club was attended by 80 people.
The relief centre at Hamilton Senior Citizens Hall has been reopened today.
The Horsham Incident Control Centre is still managing 25 other fires in the Wimmera district. These are being maintained daily and are all contained.
Check for the latest warnings and advice \ at either www.dse.vic.gov.au/fires or www.cfa.vic.gov.au
For information on fires in Victoria and general fire safety advice, please contact the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) on freecall 1800 240 667. Callers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech or communication impairment may call the National Relay Service (NRS) on 1800 555 667 and request 1800 240 667 for VBIL.