Bushfire near Rosedale in Victoria sparks emergency warning, lives and homes at risk



January 07, 2019 15:59:56

Residents in the farming community of Willung, in Victoria’s Gippsland region, are being urged to seek shelter immediately as an out-of-control bushfire threatens lives and homes.

Key points:

  • Emergency warning issued for a fire burning towards Willlung
  • Water bombers deployed from Melbourne to fight the blaze from above
  • Another fire which started in the area on the weekend may have been deliberately lit

An emergency warning was issued to residents around lunchtime, with the blaze travelling south-west towards the community.

The fire was within about 1.5 kilometres of the nearest home about 3:00pm, according to the Country Fire Authority (CFA).

The warning applies to residents along Gormandale-Stradbroke Road, where an active fire of up to 70 hectares was burning in the Chessum Road and Merton Vale Road area.

Water bombers deployed

CFA incident controller Peter West said water bombers had been deployed from Melbourne and about 200 firefighters were on the ground.

He said winds were expected to peak between 5:00pm and 7:00pm.

“With the winds this afternoon, they’re a little bit unpredictable and strengthening so that’s why it’s still quite risky,” Mr West told ABC Radio Gippsland.

“However, we do have resources on the ground, they are working to a plan, they are holding the fire on the Chessum Road,” he said.

Water bombers have been dropping retardant on the blaze to give crews more time to work.

“We will be actively doing what we can from the air,” he said.

“We’re doing everything we can in the meantime.”

Major fires treated as suspicious

Today’s blaze follows testing conditions over the weekend in which nearly 200 fires burnt across the state.

Authorities said they were treating the weekend’s two major fires — at Rosedale, near Willung, and Strathbogie —as suspicious.

An investigation has also been launched into an incident on Saturday that left the firefighters at the Rosedale blaze vulnerable after a sudden wind change.

The firefighters were caught in a “very serious situation”, according to Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp, which left them shaken up.








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