Far East fires

Far East fires

It was a hot time for firefighters on the weekend as more than 15 fires were ignited by lightning in East Gippsland on Saturday afternoon.

The fires were reported by fire lookout observers in fire towers across the region and fire reconnaissance aircraft. The majority of the active fires are in Far East Gippsland, east of the Snowy River.

Forest Fire Management Victoria staff and contractors responded quickly and only three fires in Far East Gippsland remained uncontained yesterday morning.

Most of the fires have been less than one hectare or single trees, however some are slightly larger and in very remote locations.

A rappel crew has been assisting with a fire in the Coopracambra National Park that is 3.5 hectares. This sees a helicopter transporting the crew to the site where they are lowered into a safe place close to the fire to walk the final distance before commencing rake hoe line construction and blacking out.

Arduous firefighters using hand tools are controlling another small fire near Mount Tingaringy, where machinery or vehicle access is not possible. The crews access the fire by walking into the steep and rocky terrain to the fire ground.

A third fire at Cooaggalah Track, near Noorinbe, is eight hectares and bulldozers have been used to construct control lines around it with crews now blacking out any hot spots.

“Given the amount of lightning on Saturday and Sunday we will continue our air and fire tower observations as the weather warms in coming days,” incident controller, Stephen Young, said.

“Due to the remote locations of the lightning strikes there has been no threat to any local communities.”