Tag: Mr Warrington

Victoria on watch for fresh fires amid hot and windy conditions

Melbourne 3000

Victoria’s emergency services are on alert for fresh fires amid hot and windy conditions in areas across the state.

Key points:

  • Total fire bans have been declared in the central and western districts
  • Authorities are particularly concerned about new fires starting
  • A cold front approaching the state from the west is expected to bring some relief

A total fire ban has been declared for all six of the central and western fire districts, with the fire danger rating reaching “severe” in five regions and “extreme” in the Mallee.

Temperatures were expected to reach the mid-30s on the northern plains, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warning of wind speeds up to 70kph and gusts up to 90kph.

A strong cold front approaching Victoria from the west should bring relief. BOM said it should reach areas in the south-west this afternoon before crossing east by Thursday morning.

A severe weather warning for damaging winds is currently in place for areas including Mildura, Horsham, Warrnambool, Seymour, Maryborough, Ballarat, Geelong and Melbourne.

Grass fires the main concern

At a briefing yesterday, Country Fire Authority chief officer Steve Warrington said authorities were monitoring fires in the Mallee region and areas west of Melbourne.


Country Fire Authority chief officer Steve Warrington is on watch for dangerous weather conditions. (Supplied: Emergency Victoria)

“In that area around Ballarat as you go into Melbourne, where we have a very dry grass, the strong winds, the high temperatures and certainly thunderstorms ahead of the change as well, new [fire] starts are a concern for us tomorrow,” he said at the briefing.

“We believe that we will struggle to extinguish a running grassfire at the height of those winds and that’s why we’ve put a total fire ban in to try and stop those starts occurring in the first place.

“But if they do, we’ll do everything we can to make sure we get on top of them as quick as we can.”

A grassfire that triggered an emergency warning at Pastoria, east of Kyneton, on Sunday night was an example of the kind of threat authorities were concerned about, he said.

“At the moment we’re noticing fire behaviours that are quite extreme,” he said.

‘Merry-go-round’ of weather

BOM senior meteorologist Kevin Parkyn said it had been a “merry-go-round” of weather over the past few days going from fires to storms, floods and giant hail.

Mr Parkyn said that on the back of that eventful 48 hours of weather, Victoria was bracing for a return to an elevated fire danger across the western and central districts due to hot, dry, northerly winds preceding the wind change.

Mr Warrington said following recent rains the fires in the Gippsland and north-east areas were largely contained.

“There are certainly active fires within those fires and we’ve got good breaks around those and we’ll continue to build those breaks in and around there,” he said.

He said the authorities were concerned the Pastoria fire could jump containment lines, but existing fires were not the main concern.

“New starts in unprepared communities are the biggest risk,” he said.

“If communities are not prepared for a fire, whether they live or die, whether their property is saved or not saved is very much dependent upon the decisions people make right now.”

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

Military deployed to help bushfire-hit Victorians as four people remain missing

Melbourne 3000

Military aircraft and naval ships will be deployed to support fire crews and stage evacuations in bushfire-ravaged areas of Victoria, the Federal Government says.

Key points:

  • Bushfires are still causing destruction in parts of Gippsland and near the NSW-Victoria border
  • Lightning has been starting more fires in the Alps
  • For the latest information, visit the Vic Emergency website

Seven emergency warnings remain in place for bushfires that have destroyed dozens of properties in the state’s east and north-east.

Four people remain unaccounted for.

Authorities have confirmed 43 properties — including homes and a primary school — have been destroyed by bushfire in Gippsland, where more than 400,000 hectares have been burned.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds have agreed to deploy a fleet of aircraft and ships at the request of the Victorian Government.

As part of the deal, the Australian Defence Force will send Black Hawks, Chinooks, fixed-wing aircraft and Navy vessels for firefighting support and evacuations.

See how the day unfolded in our blog

Earlier, Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said 19 buildings had been destroyed in the farming district of Sarsfield, and 24 in the neighbouring town of Buchan.

An unknown number of properties have also been destroyed by fire in the Corryong area, near the NSW-Victoria border.

Video: Thousands gathered at Mallacoota beach as the fire front approached the town.

(ABC News)

Situation remains dangerous

Aerial footage revealed Clifton Creek Primary School, in East Gippsland, was among the properties destroyed.

“The danger is not over,” Mr Crisp said, describing the situation as “dynamic and dangerous”.

“There’s a lot of fire edge.”


Clifton Creek Primary School, in East Gippsland, was among the properties destroyed. (ABC News)

Video: Some Mallacoota residents took boats into the water as the bushfire hit the town. (Facebook: Cubin')

(ABC News)

In the holiday town of Mallacoota, thousands of people huddled on the beach this morning as flames approached the area — but CFA chief officer Steve Warrington said the main bushfire front had since passed the town.

“I understand there was a public cheer down at the jetty when that was announced,” he said.

But he said fires continued to burn in the area, and firefighters were still extinguishing houses on the outskirts of the town.


People sought refuge at Mallacoota’s boat ramp as bushfires closed in on the town. (Instagram: @travelling_aus_family)

Samantha Corbett was on holiday in Mallacoota with her family and joined the thousands of people who sought shelter at the boat ramp as the bushfire hit the town.

She said “many, many spot fires” had started in and around the town on Tuesday afternoon and there was “a lot of smoke”.

“We have watched houses burn today. It’s been gut wrenching,” she said.


The major bushfire front has passed Mallacoota but fires are still burning around the town. (Supplied: Samantha Corbett)

“The CFA are working tirelessly. They roll in, fill up then roll straight back out. Where we can we are clapping and cheering them on. I can’t thank the emergency services here enough.”

Thousands of people have been left without power in East Gippsland, which AusNet said may not be restored for days.

‘There’s a chance we’ve lost everything’

Thousands of holidaymakers and residents left East Gippsland for safer locations after authorities issued multiple warnings earlier this week.

Clifton Creek resident Shannon Hutchings’s family of six left town for Lakes Entrance with their pets on Monday.

She believes the fire has since burned through their property twice.


Shannon Hutchings, pictured with two of her daughters at Lakes Entrance, fears her family has lost everything. (ABC News)

“There’s a chance we’ve lost everything,” she said.

“We can’t actually get on to the property [because] there’s massive trees down in the way, so even if the fire’s not in the area we can’t actually get through.

“We are really concerned that what it didn’t take the first time, if there’s anything left, it’ll grab the second go around.”

As the prospect of homelessness looms, Ms Hutchings and her husband are among fire-affected residents working out where to stay and how to take care of their families.

“We’re finding alternative places for our kids to go,” she said.

“We have one [son] going to a nursing home at Paynesville because he has physical special needs — we can’t provide for that here and we have none of his equipment,” she said.

“We have two going to stay with some beautiful friends in Melbourne and we’ve yet to figure out whether we’ll keep the fourth one with us.”

Video: Emergency Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the bushfire threat was not over yet.

(ABC News)

Buildings razed on outskirts of Corryong

Fires are surrounding the town of Corryong, east of Albury-Wodonga in Victoria’s north-east, where the CFA’s Mr Warrington said people were experiencing a “high degree of anxiety”.

He said there were numerous property losses on the outskirts of the town.

Video: People were evacuated from Corryong on Tuesday night, after a bushfire leapt over the New South Wales border.

(ABC News)

“It is isolated and we can get limited trucks in and out,” Mr Warrington said.

He said the good news was that a cool change had passed through the town.


Communities at Walwa and Corryong were threatened by the fire. (Supplied: Aaron Benbow)

“So still a high degree of anxiety … and a lot of firefighting activity occurring again with numerous property losses, particularly on the outskirts of the town in Corryong.”

An evacuation centre was set up at Corryong College.


Fires engulfed areas near Walwa overnight on Monday. (Twitter: Declan Kuch)

Shalee Gherbaz said she had spoken to her brother in Corryong, who described the town as “an absolute mess”.

“Fires are everywhere but the town was standing strong,” Ms Gherbaz said.

In an update at 6:50pm, Luke Heagerty of the State Control Centre said people in the area should shelter indoors.

Lightning sparks new blazes in the Alps

Watch and act warnings have been issued after a band of lightning strikes started about a dozen new fires in Victoria’s Alpine region.

Mr Warrington said those fires, pushing into areas near Mount Howitt, Mount Buller, and Jamieson, were also a cause for concern.

An updated emergency warning was issued at 3:50pm for a bushfire in the Upper Snowy Cluster near Corryong and Colac Colac.

Lightning strikes are still hitting Victoria’s High Country and there are fears they could spark new fires.

Army, American experts called in to help

Commissioner Crisp said authorities were considering using helicopters to fly in food and other supplies to people cut off by the fires and related road closures.

“We still have communities that are isolated,” he said.

“We’re doing everything we can to get supplies down there to ensure that we can look after those people.”


One of the properties razed in the Sarsfield area. (ABC News)

Fire services in the United States and Canada had been asked to provide “specialist aviation resources” to help firefighting efforts, he said.

Army personnel will join officers from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) to conduct impact assessments in affected areas.

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

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