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Hume Freeway fire chaos
Just before 1:30pm on Monday 18 Feb CFA crews were called out to a fast moving grass & scrub fire on Donnybrook Rd Donnybrook.
Mount St Leonards & Kangaroo Ground fire towers both confirmed thick black smoke showing and building in size. Senior Station Officer Paul Elso from Craigieburn brigade confirmed a grass & scrub fire not yet under control and quickly called for 20 tankers and aircraft support.
The fire continued to burn in a southerly direction and very quickly impacted on traffic on the Hume Freeway. Police closed off the freeway and CFA, MFB and DSE crews began to arrive and protect assets such as factories and homes in the area.
More strike teams arrived and were rapidly deployed as the fire ran along the freeway reserve and headed across long grass towards buildings. A staging area for vehicles was organised by the Gisbourne ICC at the Epping Recreational Reserve.
The BP petrol station in Cooper St and several factories in Scanlon Drive were under direct threat as nearby grass and trees ignited around them. Combined crews did a valiant job and minimised damage to those sites.
Many homes were saved but it is believed one home was destroyed and several outbuildings were lost. A full assessment is still to be completed.
Crews worked well into the night and were fed by the great team of Salvos in the Epping Football Club building. A significant amount of work will need to be done to blackout the hundreds of smouldering trees and stumps in the affected area over the next few days and nights.