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Grampians fire update 21 January

Mon 20 Jan 2014
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HORSHAM INCIDENT CONTROL CENTRE - CURRENT FIRE SITUATION

6.00AM UPDATE: The Grampians Northern Complex fire was declared contained overnight.

Incident Controller Mark Gunning said this was a significant milestone for Grampians communities with emergency and recovery services now focussing on returning residents in fire-affected areas back to their homes and opening roads to ensure these local areas are open to tourists ahead of the long weekend.

“Over the past few days firefighters have focussed on back burning around the Mt Difficult Range near Halls Gap as well as establishing and consolidating control and containment lines,” he said.

“With more favourable weather conditions it has been important to complete these works as we’re expecting some warmer weather and northerly winds this Thursday.”

Mr Gunning said crews would continue patrolling the fire as well as undertaking hazardous tree assessments along the fire’s edge and surrounding roads and properties.

“Residents and visitors should still be mindful that clean-up works will continue over coming days and an Advice message remains in place for Roses Gap, Cherrypool, Dadswell's Bridge, Laharum, Ledcourt, Pomonal, Zumsteins, Wartook, Bellfield, Lake Fyans, Glenisla, Halls Gap and Brimpaen,” he said.

“As with any fire, the situation can change at any time and while we don’t expect any further spread of the fire, it is important that people stay up-to-date with local conditions.”

Residents can keep with the latest warnings and advice by tuning in to ABC local radio, commercial and designated community radio stations or Sky News TV, via emergency.vic.gov.au, by downloading the FireReady smartphone application, through CFA’s Twitter and Facebook accounts or by phoning the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.

Firefighters also continue to work on a fire at Black Range at Bunjils Cave Road near Stawell.

“Crews have made great progress here in building control lines and earth breaks. We estimate this fire is about 70 per cent tracked, however, there is still some work to do before we can contain this fire as it is located in some difficult terrain,” Mr Gunning said.

A number of roads around this fire also remain closed. These include:

  • Bullochy Mary Road
  • Gunawarra Road
  • Bunjils Cave Road between Pomonal Road/Ganawarra Road and Glue Pot Road
  • Browns Lane
  • Horwood Road west of Carlsens Road
  • Monaghan Road west of Carlsens Road

Visit www.vicroads.vic.gov.au for the latest information on road closures.

GRAMPIANS NORTHERN COMPLEX FIRE RECOVERY

Residents around the Wartook Valley, St Helens Plains and Roses Gap areas will continue to return to their homes over the coming days as emergency services assess damage and remove fallen and dangerous trees.

Incident Controller Mark Gunning said a number of Grampians communities had been devastated by the fires with the total number of houses lost now 27.

“All up about 90 structures have been impacted by this fire, however, we’re still working through the detail to distinguish between houses, sheds and other properties,” he said.

“While there has been some fantastic work done by emergency services crews to contain this fire, we need to keep in mind that there are many residents who have been affected by this fire, some who have lost their homes.

“This is a difficult time for these residents and now, moving in to the recovery stage we will ensure we can do all we can to help them and local businesses get back on their feet.”

Yesterday around 100 people attended a community meeting at Pomonal with another community meeting to be held at 2.00pm today at Laharum Hall in Northern Grampians Road.

A Recovery Centre is operating in Stawell at Grampians Community Health, 8 Patrick Street, from 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

Powercor is still working to restore services to some residents around Zumsteins and the Wartook Valley and boil water notices remain in place for Halls Gap and Pomonal until further notice.

Mr Gunning said the Grampians community was also welcoming visitors to return to the area including Halls Gap, Dunkeld, Laharum, Dadswell’s Bridge, Pomonal and other tourist areas.

Many roads and campgrounds inside the park are open including the Grampians Tourist Road south of Halls Gap, roads to the east of Grampians Tourist Road, Mt Abrupt to Jimmy Creek Campground, the road to Silverband Falls.

Walks open to visitors include the Venus Baths, Fyans Creek Loop, Boronia Peak, Mt Abrupt and Mt Sturgeon. The situation is being constantly reviewed and areas will be opened as soon as they are declared safe.

Visit www.parks.vic.gov.au to for the latest information. 

FIRE QUICK FACTS

  • The fire is suspected to have started from lightning on Wednesday, 15 January.
  • It is estimated to have burnt 52,000 hectares and the perimeter of the fire is 189 kilometres.
  • The Black Range fire has burnt just over 1395 hectares.
  • Current losses in the area include: approximately 90 structures including 27 houses and outbuildings and 63 sheds; 3000 sheep (950 sheep missing); 6 pieces of farm machinery; 203 kilometres of fencing; 2 hay sheds; 1 woolshed, 109 hectares of Olive trees. Assessments will continue throughout the area.
  • Current resources include 280 personnel, 26 tankers, 94 slip-on vehicles, nine dozers, four fixed wing aircraft and four helicopters. There are also a number of graders, excavators, tractors and support vehicles on scene.
Last Updated: 22 January 2014

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