A FIRE that burnt through 650 hectares of the Warby Ovens National Park is the biggest that’s hit the bushland since the early 1990s.
Forest Fire Management Victoria and CFA contained the fire on Sunday night after three days of working to bring the incident under control.
The fire ignited on private property at about 2.20pm on Friday and was fanned by a south-westerly wind heading towards Pangerang Lookout.
A “critical” stage of the firefighting operation on Friday night was stopping the blaze from jumping Ridge Road, which was successfully achieved by crews.
Forest Fire Management Victoria took control of the incident on Friday night as it entered the national park.
Five strike teams of 25 CFA firefighters worked shifts around the clock since Friday and two helicopters have offered air support during the peaks of the fire.
Incident Control operations officer Dan McLaughlin from Parks Victoria said the incident reached an advice warning only for residents in the area and no evacuations were initiated, as of yesterday afternoon.
He said the Ridge Road control was critical to the efforts of firefighters and all personnel worked well to burn back from the road to meet the fire on Friday night.
“There were a couple of fall back points if it had of jumped the road, but we didn’t have to resort to these,” Mr McLaughlin said.
“It is the largest fire in the Warbys since the early 90s, before the Boweya fire in December 2014 which burnt 200ha of the park.”
He said the main ridge line of the park is 10,000 hectares so the fire has burnt 6.5 per cent of that area.
“It was a fairly clean burn but the incident area will be monitored for the rest of summer to minimise the risk of flare ups,” he said.
An aerial line-scan of the fire ground on Saturday night detected a large number of hot-spots within the fire area which were the focus of efforts yesterday.
“Now that the back burning works have been completed, the focus turns to blacking-out hot spots and consolidating containment lines ahead of forecast warmer weather this week,” Mr McLaughlin said.
“Water-bombing aircraft and heavy machinery have been used effectively supporting on-ground crews to contain the spread of the fire.”
Mr McLaughlin warned of the fire danger this summer in the area despite recent rainfalls in the area and highlighted the dryness of the Warbys on the western side.
Parks Victoria will monitor the fire affected area right throughout summer.
Internal tracks and roads within the Park remain closed to the general public.
Investigators are still looking into how the fire started, but have ruled out it being suspiciously lit.
To stay informed visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au
Tune into ABC Local Radio, commercial and designated community radio stations, or Sky News TV or call the VicEmergency Hotline to talk to someone on freecall 1800 226 226.
See stories about fire risk this summer, likely heatwave weather, and an update on North East storages and water restrictions on pages 4 and 5 of today’s printed edition of the Wangaratta Chronicle.
This post is part of the thread: Boweya Wangandary Road fire – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.