Aberfeldy blaze continues to rage

THE Aberfeldy blaze is among one of the major fires continuing to keep the state’s firefighters busy in the grip of “an extremely busy period for fires”, according to a top official.

On Sunday, Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said more than 400 new bush and grassfires would have started over the period from the afternoon of 14 February to Sunday afternoon, the majority of which were started by lightning.

“It has been a very active fire period in many areas of the state and the emergency services have been kept very busy,” Mr Lapsely said.

He said fire activity had been driven by four days of hot, dry weather, which was expected to continue for a while yet.

“Right across the state thousands of people have been working incredibly hard, day and night, protecting their community,” he said.

“I want to thank them, and everyone who has been supporting them – including family, friends and employers – for their efforts.”

Over the four-day period, Mr Lapsely said up to 1075 firefighters, 240 vehicles and 64 aircraft have been active each shift to tend to the fires.

In addition to the Aberfeldy fire, blazes in Western Victoria including the Grampians and Eastern Victoria including Harrietville were currently of most significance.

Last week, fire crews in Gippsland worked to establish fire control lines for the protection of communities adjoining public land potentially affected by the two main blazes.

A statement from the Country Fire Authority and the Department of Sustainability and Environment said crews were working with a fleet of heavy machinery, and would prepare a series of roads and tracks from Newry in the west and extending through areas including Mt Moornapa, Briagolong, Treasures and Hunter Corner, north of Glenaladale, Mount Taylor and Fairhope and through to the Great Alpine Road north of Bruthen.