Tag: Cann River


Gippsland locals survey the damage as others flee amid evacuation alerts


Melbourne 3000

The captain of the CFA brigade in the small hamlet of Wairewa, east of Lakes Entrance, is feeling guilty — his home was saved when fire went through on Monday night, but 11 others were destroyed.

Key points:

  • Six shires and four Alpine resorts are under a state-of-disaster declaration until January 9
  • Authorities say 21 people remain unaccounted for, and two have died in Victoria’s fires
  • For the latest bushfire information, visit the Vic Emergency website

Those properties were claimed by one of about 50 fires burning across Victoria, which have destroyed almost 800,000 hectares of land and prompted an unprecedented state-of-disaster declaration for much of Victoria’s east.

Many fires in Wairewa were caused by falling embers — leaving a patchy pattern of burnt ground, and some houses destroyed while others remained standing.

Julian Davies, the captain of the CFA brigade at Wairewa, said it was an unforgettable experience.

“I put the call through for help … told them we were getting spot fires,” Mr Davies said.

“They sent the strike team out and they sat with the community.

“It’s a noise I’ll never forget. It was the sound of a steam train. No-one ever wants to go through a fire like that.”



Photo:

The town’s historic trestle bridge was destroyed in the fire. (ABC News: Nicole Asher)

As thousands of people evacuate areas that are now in the firing line, Wairewa locals on Friday started filtering back into the farming community after sheltering in a local hall protected by firefighters.

Driving under the trestle bridge into town, black paddocks unfold on either side of the road, dotted with the crumpled remains of burnt houses.

“The families are doing pretty tough. It’s smashed everyone,” Mr Davies said.

Mr Davies’s father, Victor Davies, is a former CFA captain, and said a fire like that is something one sees only once in a lifetime.

“It’s the first major fire that’s been in here,” he said.

“There’s been a few little spots, but never anything major like this.”



Photo:

The burnt-out remains of a fence destroyed by fire in Wairewa. (ABC News: Nicole Asher)

With 21 people still missing in East Gippsland, he urged everyone to get out before conditions deteriorated again.

“We could lose more housing,” he said.

“People [should] evacuate to a place where hopefully there’ll be some trucks there to help.”



Photo:

It’s CFA strategy to embed strike teams in vulnerable communities like Wairewa. (ABC News: Nicole Asher)

Homes destroyed in Buchan, but pub saved

In places like nearby Buchan, where one man is dead and 24 homes have been destroyed, firefighters had to retreat into the town centre as the flames became more ferocious.

It meant that the community members who gathered there were protected, but homes burned.



Photo:

The fire destroyed 24 properties at Buchan. (ABC News: Nicole Asher)

“Our aim was to protect lives so we said to people, ‘Go into town, we’ll protect the towns’,” CFA chief officer Steve Warrington said.

“We had a bit of time, we embedded strike teams in these towns to protect towns and communities but … when the fires got too bad we pulled teams back to protect them.”

The town is surrounded by burnt forest and paddocks, but key infrastructure was saved — including the Buchan Hotel, which was rebuilt by the community after it was burnt to the ground in 2014.

Last chance to leave Cann River

A convoy of evacuees left Cann River around 2:00pm on Friday. It was the last chance to get out of town.

Those who stayed were warned emergency services may not be able to help them.



Photo:

A strike team arrived in Cann River on Wednesday ahead of worsening weekend conditions. (Facebook: Joe Stephens)

Cann River, which is located on the Princes Highway about halfway between Orbost and Mallacoota, was isolated and lost communications when the fire went through earlier this week.

About 100 residents had to shelter in a school at the height of the emergency.

Joe Stephens decided not to join the convoy heading out of town this time.

He’s staying on his property outside of town.

“It’s been a cold start to the day, [it’s] still only 16C at lunch time,” he said on Friday.

“First we were fogged in with a bit of smoke, now we are smoked in, cannot see more than 30 metres.”



Photo:

Residents sheltered in the local school at the height of the emergency. (Supplied: Joe Stephens)

Mr Stephens plans to head into Cann River to sleep but knows he will not be allowed to return to his home.

“I have brought the cows and sheep up around the house where the grass is shorter,” he said.

“With the Government’s [emergency] declaration, I will not be able to return once I leave.”

More bushfire coverage:

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news


Towns told ‘we need to evacuate’ before fire risk intensifies in Gippsland


Melbourne 3000

Victorian authorities are ramping up efforts to reach and evacuate cut-off communities in East Gippsland, where 28 people remain missing after destructive bushfires tore through the region.

Key points:

  • Remote communities across the region are either evacuating in convoys or preparing to stay and defend
  • In one isolated town, several residents are relying on a single shared radio at the general store
  • For the latest information, visit the Vic Emergency website

Premier Daniel Andrews said 24 Victorian communities were still isolated by bushfires on Thursday afternoon.

Rescue crews were battling to clear roads to reach them so they could evacuate before the risk increased this weekend, he said.

Nine satellite phones had also been dropped into other isolated communities.

This morning, Mr Andrews said the number of people missing in bushfire-affected areas in Victoria had risen from 17 to 28.

“I can confirm today that as at 9:30am, there are 28 people that we cannot locate, and we are very concerned about their wellbeing,” Mr Andrews told a press conference in Melbourne.

Earlier, a body found in a home at Buchan was identified as 67-year-old Mick Roberts.



Photo:

Fires have isolated the East Gippsland community of Cann River. (Facebook: Sherylle Holster)

Follow our live blog for updates on bushfires and the evacuations.

Thirty-nine firefighters from North America landed in Melbourne on Thursday afternoon to join the battle to control the East Gippsland blazes.

The charity group Need for Feed has also organised fodder to be dropped across East Gippsland to help isolated farmers trying to stop their livestock from starving.

On Friday morning some of the 4,000 people trapped in the coastal town of Mallacoota were transported to a Navy ship that arrived in the area the previous day.

They will be evacuated from Mallacoota to Western Port, at Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula, a journey that is expected to take 17 hours.



Photo:

A contingent of 39 firefighters from North America has landed in Melbourne to help fight the East Gippsland blazes. (AAP: Julian Smith)

Dirt-road convoy gets out of Cann River

A convoy of 46 cars and a bus left Cann River on Thursday afternoon after residents were told trying to leave on Saturday would be extremely dangerous.

The convoy, which included emergency vehicles, was able to leave after crews cleared an old dirt track out of town.

Alison Rainey, who owns a local cafe, said they were all headed to the town of Orbost.

She said some residents who were undecided about leaving had opted to join the convoy after they were told at a briefing that Saturday would be an extremely dangerous day for the town.



Photo:

The Cann River P12 College kept the community safe when bushfires approached. (Supplied: Joe Stephens)

Ms Rainey — who has decided to stay in Cann River — said her 10-year-old son was with his father in Bonnie Doon.

“Now that the town population has plummeted there’s plenty [of food] to go around,” she told ABC Statewide Drive.

She said she planned to take shelter in the school if things worsened.

“I feel confident that the school will be fine, that we will be protected here, I have no doubt about that.”



Photo:

Massive smoke plumes could be seen over Bemm River on Thursday afternoon. (ABC News: Ben Jaensch)

Nowa Nowa residents share single radio

Further west, several residents in Nowa Nowa have been relying on a single shared radio at a general store to monitor bushfire warnings.

Nowa Nowa General Store owner Sandra Huggins said the town was confronted by a “massive wall of fire” on Tuesday. She is now concerned about what will happen this weekend.

“Our community hasn’t had power since Monday evening,” she said.

“Because we have no power or phones or internet we’re not getting any of the emergency warnings.

“If we got out of town a few Ks, we all of sudden get ‘ping, ping, pings’ and all these messages.

“It’s a bit disconcerting to learn you’re on Watch and Act, which you didn’t even know.”

A passing tradie left them with a decent radio, which is now located in the only part of town with reception — in the car park outside the store.

“We don’t get radio reception in our store or in our house,” Ms Huggins said.



Photo:

Sandra Huggins said the radio at the general store was one of the few sources of information from outside the town. (ABC News: Nicole Asher)

“That’s our only contact with what’s happening, we have no idea otherwise.

“It’s very scary, especially with what happened on Monday night and what may happen.”

In the meantime, the community is cooking up the food from their defrosting freezers at a barbecue outside the shop.

“We’re happy to feed anyone who wants to come and eat it,” Ms Huggins said.


Video: Entire streets of homes were reduced to rubble in Mallacoota.

(ABC News)

Those left in Genoa will face the fires alone

Just north-west of Mallacoota, the small community of Genoa has found itself completely cut off from Victorian authorities as a result of the fires.

CFA chief officer Steve Warrington said Victorian firefighters had asked their NSW counterparts to help, but even they could not reach the town.


Video: CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington says authorities are working to rescue thousands of Victorians trapped by bushfires.

(ABC News)

He said a police officer had driven from Eden through the fire to get into Genoa and help the community as it was hit by the same blaze that devastated Mallacoota.

On Wednesday, authorities said about 100 people were trapped in Genoa.

David Sykes, who runs the nearby Wallagaraugh River Retreat, said he told his 56 guests to leave the holiday park on Sunday.

He said properties in the area had been destroyed, but most residents had already fled over the border to Eden.

“That is very, very sad, because as much as the fire out in the open has died down and is under control and in private land, you know, now the sad stories are starting to come out,” he said.

External Link:

Daniel Andrews Facebook post from Bairnsdale

Orbost serving as a point of refuge

The town of Orbost, which sits between Bairnsdale and Mallacoota, is serving as the main point of refuge for people leaving some of East Gippsland’s more remote communities.

But some people remain trapped in remote communities to the north, such as Goongerah and Bonang.

Further west, a major relief centre at the Bairnsdale saleyards has been filling up with bushfire evacuees and about 250 horses.

East Gippsland Mayor John White said a backup centre may be needed at the local racecourse.


Video: Bushfires tore through East Gippsland this week and are expected to flare again this weekend.

(ABC News)

Metung told ‘we need to evacuate’

Victorian authorities have told communities to the south and south-east of the Bairnsdale complex of fires that they are under threat and should leave as soon as possible before this weekend’s weather hits.

That message was hardened by Metung CFA Captain Trevor Blundell on Thursday, who told a local meeting that the town needed to be evacuated.


Video: Metung CFA Captain Trevor Blundell told people they were 'not safe'.

(ABC News)

“We are not safe in Metung. We are not safe in Metung. We need to evacuate this town,” he told a crowd through a speaker on one of the brigade’s trucks.

“Holidaymakers, residents, all these people in front of me looking at me, we need to leave Metung.”

More bushfire coverage:

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news




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