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Harrietville threat eases
Weather conditions on the Harrietville-Feathertop fire ground have continued to moderate overnight and this morning, with the threat level for Harrietville reduced.
Incident Controller, Tony Lovick, said as a result of the reduced threat, Harrietville’s level of warning has reduced from a “Watch and Act” to an “Advice” message.
An Advice message remains current for Harrietville, Hotham Heights, Smoko, Dinner Plain and Freeburgh.
“We are very aware that it has been a long and at times frustrating week for the residents of Harrietville as we waited for the fire to play its hand,” he said.
“The fire is still burning within close proximity to the township, however, the fire ground conditions have abated to the degree that we do not anticipate any significant fire behaviour in and around Harrietville at the present time.
“It’s important that residents continue to monitor conditions and be in a position to respond if the situation changes.
“There is a lot of work being undertaken in and around Harrietville, with back-burning operations commencing last night to further consolidate control lines.”
Mr Lovick said the fire, which was started by lightning on Monday, is burning in steep, rugged terrain, and has burnt about 3500 hectares.
“While we have done some great work on control lines, asset protection and planning in and around a number of communities, there is still a lot of work to be done to contain the fire.
“Significant progress has been made on constructing additional control lines and backup control lines between the Ovens and West Kiewa Valleys to the north and north-east of the fire, and near the Great Alpine Road to the south-west of the fire.
“With much of the fire edge inaccessible, rappel fire fighters are being used effectively to directly attack strategic parts of the fire with the support of aircraft.”
Mr Lovick said planners were monitoring weather conditions today with the potential for rainfall and lightning on the fire ground over the weekend.
About 200 fire fighters are deployed to the fire today, including incident management personnel at Ovens.
The following community meetings are planned for today;
· Dinner Plain: 1pm at the Rundles Building.
· Harrietville: 4pm at the Harrietville Hall.
For more information about forest closures visit the Parks Victoria website www.parks.vic.gov.au.
The Great Alpine Road remains closed between Harrietville and Dinner Plain. Latest updates are available at www.vicroads.vic.gov.au
For information on fires in Victoria and general fire safety, please contact the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) on freecall 1800 240 667. Callers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech / communication impairment may contact VBIL via the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677.
People should also tune in to their emergency broadcasters: ABC Local Radio, commercial radio and designated community radio stations or SKY NEWS Television.