• RISING THREAT

    Fire authorities warning of more fire activity as extreme heat and wind elevate danger today
    jarrod hayse serious
    HIGH ALERT: Incident controller Jarrod Hayse is warning of increased fire activity today. PHOTO: Ashleigh Piles

    THE Carboor Upper area, as well as fires at Lake Buffalo, remain problematic for local firefighters heading into today and this weekend’s elevated fire danger period.

    Currently, the Abbeyard fire has ravaged 60,000 hectares of public and private land and has firefighters battling to contain the 185 kilometre perimeter which has crept past Rose River, Dangdongadale, Mount Emu and is threatening the Carboor/Whorouly South district.

    Fire authorities expect a westerly wind change at some stage today will have the potential to spread that fire in multiple directions.Speaking at the Ovens Incident Control Centre yesterday afternoon deputy incident controller Jarrod Hayse said increased temperatures today and into tomorrow should have the community on high alert.

    “The timing of that westerly change is unknown but it will be in the afternoon possibly into the (Thursday) evening and that could result in the fire spreading in multiple directions,” he warned.

    “We were preparing to see increased fire activity on this fire over the next 36 hours but we are seeing it right now.

    “All our aircraft are currently working and all our firefighters are doing their best to limit the spread of these fires as of right now.”

    Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday extended the State of Disaster imposed on nine local government areas, including Alpine and Wangaratta, for a further 48 hours shortly before Country Fire Authority declared today as a day of Total Fire Ban in the North East.

    “We are telling the community that the safest thing to do now is to leave and to leave early if you are in the Upper King and Upper Ovens, particularly Carboor and Whorouly South,” Mr Hayse said.

    “Like last Saturday, Friday (today) is going to be a severe fire weather day and the safest thing is to leave and to leave early.”

    Heading into the weekend, firefighters remain concerned for the areas behind Mount Hotham, Dinner Plain as well as Harrietville, Wandiligong, the Buckland Valley including Bright and Porepunkah.

    The fire burning on Mount Buffalo has grown to 1500 hectares and the forecast winds have the communities of Myrtleford, Nug Nug, Merriang South, Whorouly South, Mount Emu, Edi, Edi Upper, Whitfield and Rose River on alert.

    “Those communities do have the Watch & Act message on them now and some will move into emergency warnings as they need to,” Mr Hayes said.

    “People need to remain vigilant.“If you are going to stay and defend, you need to be prepared and have your fire plan but if that fire plan involves leaving, I suggest leaving early.”

    On Wednesday night, firefighters were forced to pull out all stops to contain a spot fire in Whorouly South ahead of the pending conditions.

    For up to date Bushfire information, particularly current warnings, go to emergency.vic.gov.au

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