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Peat fire at Morwell
UPDATE FRI 4.30pm: A helicopter with FLIR (forward looking infra red) cameras has been flying over the Morwell Wetlands this afternoon and has detected no further surface heat in the area.
CFA Gippsland Regional Director Mark Potter said crews are continuing to monitor the site after a small peat fire was extinguished on Wednesday afternoon.
“We conducted FLIR scans right across the wetlands, as well as north and south of the Princes Highway and no further sources of heat have been identified,” he said.
“However, we are reminding the public to call Triple Zero if they see any puffs of smoke in the area.”
CFA will continue to inspect and monitor the site in coming months.
UPDATE THURS 1pm: CFA crews have confirmed there are no remaining hot spots in the Morwell Wetlands.
Crews returned to inspect the site this morning, Thursday 15th May, after successfully extinguishing a peat fire yesterday afternoon.
Operations Officer Paul Fixter said thermal imaging technology was used in a 200 metre radius of the site and no surface heat was detected.
“We are confident the site is clear of smoke and there are no further hot spots in the wetlands,” he said.
The peat fire was burning in an approximate area of five by five metres and was two metres deep.
“We bought in excavators yesterday to dig up an area of 10 by 20 metres, and we’re confident the hotspot has not travelled any further,” he said.
CFA will continue to monitor the area over coming weeks.
UPDATE WED 4:40pm: Crews have now extinguished what turned out to be 20 by 10 metres of smouldering soil in the Morwell Wetlands, made up mainly of peat and small traces of coal dust.
Operations Officer Paul Fixter is happy with the work done today by firefighters from Morwell and Boolarra, who used machinery and thermal imaging technology to extinguish the fire.
“It’s looking much better now, there's no more smoke issuing at this stage. We’ll be monitoring again first thing in the morning and checking other areas around to make sure there’s no further smouldering soil,” said Paul.
“This sort of fire is fairly common across Gippsland after a large bushfire. It was most likely remnants of peat smouldering from the Hernes Oak bushfire in February.”
UPDATE WED 11.23am: An Advice Message has been issued for Morwell. There is no threat to communities but smoke may be visible from nearby communities and roads.
CFA crews are working to extinguish a small ‘peat’ fire burning in the Morwell Wetlands, east of the Strzelecki Highway near the Princes Freeway.
CFA Gippsland Regional Director Mark Potter said the peat fire is not connected to the Hazelwood mine fire.
“We are very confident this is a result of the bushfires that were burning on the 9th of February," he said.
CFA was called to the fire at 5:10 last night, Tuesday 13 May, after receiving a call from a local who reported seeing puffs of smoke in the area.
Mr Potter said peat fires are a common occurrence in low-lying areas following a fire.
“At this stage we believe the fire may be burning in an area of approximately 5 metres by 5 metres,” he said.
A peat fire is partly decayed vegetation, such as tree roots, that are burning underground.
Excavators have been called in to dig out the area and extinguish the fire.
CFA is using FLIR thermal imaging technology to detect any further heat on the surface.
There is no risk to the community however CFA will continue to keep the community informed about the progress at the site.
Residents who see small plumes coming from the ground should report it to Triple Zero.