Bushfire threatens Gippsland towns

Bushfire threatens Gippsland towns

Bushfire threatens Gippsland towns

Updated 18 January 2013, 6:59 AEDT

Residents in Glenmaggie in south-eastern Victoria have been warned it is now too late to leave as a fast-moving bushfire bears down on the town.

A number of communities in Gippsland in south-eastern Victoria are under imminent threat from a bushfire front.

The CFA has issued an emergency warning for a large, fast-moving bushfire in the Glenmaggie area.

Residents in the town have been warned it is now too late to leave.

An emergency relief centre has been opened at the Baptist church in Sale.

The 8,500-hectare bushfire started in Aberfeldy yesterday and is starting spot fires in and near the towns of Coongulla, Glenmaggie, Seaton, Heyfield, Newry and Glenmaggie Point.

Residents are advised to activate their bushfire plans immediately.

CFA state duty Officer Gary Weir says water bombers will take to the air this morning and strike teams are being brought in from around the state.

"It's the only real large active fire that we've got going at the moment," he said.

"It is very serious at the moment.

CFA deputy chief officer John Haynes says the fire is difficult to attack because of the rugged terrain.

"It's a lot of gullies and valleys and high ridges, so pretty inaccessible sort of country, and hard to control," he said.

"It's in a forested area, it's in a higher alpine area, but the winds are pretty calm at the moment so it's running on its own steam."

Mr Haynes says the weather conditions forecast in the state today will make it hard for firefighters.

"We've got temperatures in the high 30s, low 40s, strong winds and just to add to our joy, some potential lightning in the morning in the west and in the east in the afternoon, which again may cause multiple fires in the area," he said.

"It's potentially a nasty day, not only for the Aberfeldy fire, but also for any other new fire that starts."

Warrumbungle fire burns on

Strong winds and a very high fire danger have been forecast in central New South Wales, where an uncontained bushfire that's destroyed 51 properties is continuing to burn in the Warrumbungle National Park.

The blaze has now burned across 47,000 hectares.

Temperatures today will reach into the high 30s, with winds to 30 kilometres an hour and the humidity at just 13 per cent.

The fire has been burning close to properties in the Carrington Lane area to the south of Coonabarabran but at this stage there is no threat to the town itself.

Deputy incident controller Eric Claussen says crews are prepared for the hot and windy weather.

"It's been reasonably busy overnight," he said.

"There's a reasonable amount of fire activity still in the south and south-east of the fire, so our people have been pretty busy out there monitoring the fire, trying to consolidate a couple of the control lines and also just generally checking on the welfare of the property owners out there."

Overnight there was a surge of new firefighters to replace fatigued crews who have been battling the blaze for five days.

Many of the firefighters heading home will also face an increased fire threat in their own districts.

A disaster recovery centre will open in Coonabarabran this morning to help people that have been affected by the fires.

Disaster welfare, housing, insurance and other representatives will provide support with the Warrumbungle Shire Recovery Centre to be based at the town hall.

The centre will be open seven days a week from 8am until 6pm.

Meanwhile, a bushfire in the Bundaleer forest in South Australia's mid-north has burned through 2,300 hectares.

The blaze is uncontained and is moving in a north-easterly direction after a wind change overnight.