Victorian Bushfires in January
Fires from Justin Crawley's property. Justin (Left) watches the fire with mate Andy Forbes after finishing dinner at Justin's Property near Hariettville Photo: Justin McManus
Firefighters are taking advantage of benign weather conditions to try to contain a massive bushfire in Victoria’s east.
The 53,000-hectare blaze has already killed one man who was found in a burnt-out car and destroyed at least nine homes since it began in the Baw Baw National Park on Thursday.
Nearby communities are no longer under immediate threat from the blaze as improved weather conditions slow the fire down, allowing firefighters to work on containment.
Residents from Seaton and Glenmaggie were allowed to begin returning home from 5pm.
Police say they’re not jumping to any conclusions but they’re appealing for people to come forward if they witnessed anything suspicious in the hours before the blaze started at Aberfeldy in Gippsland about 11.30am on Thursday.
- The Gippsland fire is now slow-moving, with a number of fronts.
- It is burning in mainly forest country, more than 200 kilometres east of Melbourne.
- Milder conditions are a help to containment efforts ahead of a return to severe conditions on Thursday and Friday.
- The town of Licola, where 10 residents and 30 firefighters remain, remains isolated but not under immediate threat.
- Fourteen aircraft, 70 trucks and around 500 CFA and DSE personnel are involved in the operation.
- The body of a man was found in a burnt-out vehicle in the Seaton area at 5pm on Friday. Authorities haven't released further details.
- About nine homes are believed lost.
- About five homes have been lost in Seaton (population 215). Residents were being allowed to return to their properties from late Saturday afternoon.
- Four holiday homes or holiday shacks in national park have been destroyed.
- A number of permanent and non-permanent dwellings at the Glenmaggie caravan park have been destroyed.
- The fire started in the Baw Baw National Park near Aberfeldy on Thursday morning. It was 950 hectares at 7pm on Thursday. Overnight it reached 12,000 hectares, triple what authorities expected.
- Authorities are planning for a two-week campaign, given fire's size and remote location. They say it may again come out near Heyfield and Maffra.