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Two firefighters killed near Harrietville

It was confirmed Wednesday evening that two firefighters have been killed battling bushfire near Harrietville.

PT0M58S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2ee2r 620 349

TWO firefighters have been killed while battling a bushfire near Harrietville after a tree fell and struck their vehicle.

Police late on Wednesday night confirmed the deaths of a man in his 30s from Corryong and a woman in her late teens from Tallandoon who had been battling the 27,000 hectare blaze in remote bushland in the state's north-east.

AWU Victorian secretary Cesar Melhem said that the two firefighters were from the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullen said paramedics had been called to the scene on Pheasant Creek Track, about 10 kilometres south-west of Harrietville about 4.12pm.

Two ambulance helicopters and ground crews responded.

Emergency services were held up attending the incident at the fire grounds near Pheasant Creek for several hours due to mountainous terrain and the ongoing fire.

Mr Melhem said the loss was shattering for the families of those who perished, for their workmates, their communities,the union, and all Victorians.

"They have died heroes, which will be small comfort to those that grieve them,'' he said.  "We want answers, and we want those answers to make sure that this does not happen again."

They are the third and fourth Victorian firefighters to die fighting blazes this season.

Peter Cramer, a DSE firefighter and CFA volunteer from Tyers in Gippsland, died on January 13 while working on the Tasmanian bushfires. The 61-year-old was working on foot to identify potential containment lines on the southern boundary of the Forcett fire, about two to three kilometres from the active fire edge.

Peter Harry, 48, died at the scene of a housefire in Gisborne on December 30. Colleagues found the CFA volunteer and member of almost 30 years unconscious outside the house.

Mr Cramer’s daughter Linda Ketteringham was one of about 200 people who posted tributes to the fallen DSE firefighters on Facebook.

‘‘I can’t believe exactly 1 month after my Dad, condolescence (sic) to the families related,’’ she wrote.

With Nino Bucci