Tag: Victoria East Gippsland

Hot air to hang around for longer before Saturday’s dangerous wind change


Firefighters and communities left devastated by bushfires this week will be given a reprieve by cooler weather today, ahead of “unprecedented” conditions on Saturday.

Key points:

  • New South Wales is facing a “very dangerous day” for bushfires on Saturday
  • Victorians have been warned conditions on Saturday are likely to be worse than on New Year’s Eve
  • A total fire ban applies for NSW and a seven-day state of emergency has been declared

Thursday’s cool change will continue today as firefighters prepare for a “dangerous day” tomorrow.

Soaring temperatures and strong winds on Saturday mean conditions could be worse than those that fanned deadly blazes on New Year’s Eve, NSW and Victoria authorities are warning.

Blazes on the NSW South Coast have claimed seven lives, while in Victoria’s East Gippsland region two people have died and 17 are unaccounted for as several major fires continue to rage.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) says Saturday’s danger zones will cover a broader geographical area, dominating the south-east corner of the state, where the most destructive fires have already struck.

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

“We are expecting the conditions on Saturday to see temperatures in the low to mid 40s,” RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said.

“It’s going to be a very dangerous day, it’s going to be a very difficult day.”


Exhausted firefighters have been battling dozens of blazes across NSW amid a heatwave. (ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

A state-wide total fire ban applies in NSW on Friday and Saturday, and a seven-day state of emergency has been declared.

South Coast towns that have already been hit by fires could again come under threat, according to RFS spokesperson Cathie Moore.

“If it’s an area that the fire may not have burnt through previously when it came through and it’s still got vegetation there, there is always that potential with the wind shift that a fire could come back through,” she said.

Ms Moore said since July last year, when the fire season began early, more than 3.6 million hectares of land had been scorched — more than the last three years’ seasons combined.

Closer to Sydney, the Grose Valley and Green Wattle Creek fires are another concern on Saturday because of their proximity to urban areas.

Both of those fires have previously broken containment lines and crews have been using a reprieve in the conditions to strengthen defences.


Saturday’s heatwave will bring difficult conditions across the country. (ABC News: Mary Lloyd)

In Victoria, Emergency Management Victoria’s Deputy Commissioner, Deb Abbott, warned the state had “very, very deep and quite serious challenges ahead” that were “quite unprecedented” as the East Gippsland crisis continued.

The state’s Country Fire Authority (CFA) has been attempting to remove remaining fuel around existing blazes with backburning operations, including at Clifton Creek, as the flames move south.

But incident controller Andy Gillham says every community lying to the south and south-east of the Bairnsdale fire zones will be under threat, regardless of whether the fires have already approached their towns.

“All of the communities need to be well prepared for the weather that’s coming,” he said.

How to get out of the ‘leave zone’
As authorities race to prepare for horror bushfire conditions along the NSW South Coast on Saturday, the message being sent to tourists stranded in the area since New Year’s Eve is clear: get out now.

According to Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jonathan How, Saturday’s conditions differ because the southerly wind change will sweep through NSW much later than it did on New Year’s Eve.

“It does mean there is more time for the landscape to really heat up,” he said.

“With that change coming through later it could coincide with peak heating around 5:00pm or 6:00pm for the South Coast. That would mean a very dangerous fire day right up until the evening for many communities.”

The bureau predicts winds will arrive in Gippsland by early Saturday afternoon before moving through the NSW South Coast, not reaching Sydney until midnight.

“We could see wind gusts in excess of 100 kilometres per hour on exposed coastal locations,” Mr How said.

“It’s going to be very dangerous before and after the change.”


People seek refuge at Mallacoota Wharf as bushfires close in on the town on New Year’s Eve. (Instagram: @travelling_aus_family)

Authorities have already stressed the need for people to leave the regions of most concern, including an enormous stretch of NSW coastline from Bateman’s Bay to the Victorian border, Mount Kosciuszko National Park, and in the Victorian Alpine areas and East Gippsland.

Victorians warned ‘dangerous day’ ahead

Mr How warned Victorians to prepare for a “dangerous day” on Saturday, with conditions likely to be as bad or even worse than those experienced on New Year’s Eve.

“There could be a repeat of Tuesday’s conditions … these impacts will continue to go on for the next few weeks and unfortunately there’s just not much rain in the outlook,” he said.

“It’s looking like a very dangerous day on Saturday, particularly for those in Gippsland and the north-east of the state.”

Fire-ravaged Mallacoota in Victoria’s far east is forecast to reach a top of 42 degrees Celsius with “very strong” northerly winds which will push the fire danger into the extreme rating.

Fire danger is also forecast to be extreme in the state’s Mallee and northern county.

Mr How said dry lightning strikes had sparked a number of new fires earlier this week, therefore increasing the broader fire risk.

More bushfire coverage:

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

East Gippsland bushfire victim identified by family as Buchan ‘hero’ Mick Roberts

Buchan 3885

The first victim of Victoria’s East Gippsland bushfires has been identified by his family as 67-year-old Buchan resident Mick Roberts.

Key points:

  • Police have not yet formally identified the body
  • Premier Daniel Andrews previously said four Victorians were unaccounted for
  • Many homes have been lost in Buchan since fires hit the area on Monday morning

The body was found by one of Mr Roberts’s relatives in his bedroom inside his Buchan home after bushfires hit the town this week, but is yet to be formally identified by police.

Toby Parsons told the ABC his great-uncle ‘Mick’ was a “hero” in the community and “someone you could look up to”.

“He was much more than just my uncle,” he said.

“He was the best uncle you could ask for.

“I always had respect for him and no matter how rough or hard he looked on the outside he was so lovely on the inside and would always make you feel good.”


Ms Carter said her brother’s body was found in the bedroom of his home at Buchan. (Supplied: Toby Parsons)

‘Dry humour’ and wit remembered by sister

Mr Roberts’s sister, Jenner Carter, told the ABC her brother was the youngest of five and had lived in Buchan for 17 years.

“Everybody knew him, and he knew everyone,” she said.

Ms Carter described her brother as a “witty” man with “dry humour”.

She said her brother’s body was found in his bedroom by a family member after he had been missing for some time.

“He loved his farm. He would never have left his home no matter what,” she said.

Ms Carter said the cool change that swept through Buchan “lifted the rafters off the house”.

She said it was not yet clear how exactly her brother died.

Some communities remain ‘totally isolated’

Mayor of the East Gippsland Shire Council John White said Buchan was a resilient community.

“I didn’t know him [Mr Roberts], but he would certainly have been well known in Buchan and by others too, so that’s just really, really sad,” he told ABC Statewide Drive.

“Buchan has been enduring these bushfire attacks for the last three years, and finally they have succumbed.

“Under the conditions we had on Monday evening, they were more than anyone could control.”

Mr White said the difficult terrain in East Gippsland would make it hard to get supplies into the isolated communities.

“We still have communities that are totally isolated that we haven’t heard from,” he said.

“We’re in a situation where we have a fire that is still out-of-control, but we’re also trying to get in to do recovery. Coordinating all that is an enormous task.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday that four people were unaccounted for after bushfires hit the state’s east and north.

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

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