Hotham / Harrietville Fire Update

From Hotham Resort Management:

Mt Hotham Resort Fire Update – 12pm, Friday 15th February 2013

Harrietville – Alpine Fire Statistics:

[table] , North, South
Fire Area:, 18270ha, 12000 ha
Fire Perimeter:, 95 km, 150 km
Control Lines built:, 210 km, 40 km
Line to be built:, 10 km, 29 km
Potential Spread:, High, High [/table]

Resort Threat: Medium – currently NO active fires within Resort boundaries.

Conditions: Currently; Mild and Clear with no visible smoke, Temperature: 14’c (expected max. of 16’c)
Humidity: 67%, Wind: WSW at 6 km/h with gusts to 15 km/h.

Road Status: Both Approaches Closed – Emergency & Essential Service Vehicle Access Only.

Current Status:

THERE HAS BEEN NO DAMAGE TO PROPERTY OR INFRASTUCTURE

The ‘Harrietville – Alpine North Fires’ remains classified as ‘going’ and are continuing to spread.

Fire behaviour remains quite mild, but is slowly expanding along active fronts but activity has been subdued due to the low wind strength and higher humidity – which currently stands at 67% with wind speed at 6 kmh from the WSW.

Thunderstorms have occurred across the fire ground yesterday and overnight, but rainfall was patchy and mostly to the north of the fire area with NO rainfall on the Dargo sector. The thunderstorm activity that occurred to the east and north of the fire has been responsible for several other ignitions which resulted in aerial and ground resources being redirected to provide first attack response – however none of the additional ignitions are within or immediately adjacent to Mt. Hotham..

Several of the new ignitions have been dealt with and wont require further redirection of resources however 4 fires in the Ovens will require DSE crews to be tasked to them for follow up.

The main fronts within the ‘Davenport Catchment’ continue their progress and spread within the ‘Dargo National Park’. The fire has run to the South and South-east, with several spots ahead of the main fire. Crews have completed significant defensive preparations, including a bull-dozer ‘control-cut’ right around the SE perimeter to protect private assets – CFA are monitoring and maintaining crew and equipment in the ‘Dinner Plain’ area.
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CFA/DSE Control Strategies;

Continue to monitor and protect ‘Mt Hotham Resort’, ‘Dinner Plain Village’ and other assets from fire.

The ‘Dinner Plain Track’ has been strengthened and ‘back burnt’ to ‘Mayford Spur’. The ‘Blue Rag Range Track’ has been strengthening and completed to ‘Wongungurra River’.

Contain ‘Pheasant Creek Track’ spot over using ‘Paddy Hill Track’ to the north and tie into ‘Buckland River Road’ to the west.

Preparation of containment Lines utilising ‘Mount Murray Track North’ and ‘Mount Murray Logging Road’ and tying back into ‘Pheasant Creek Track’ and ‘Buckland River Road’.

Back burn south off ‘Pheasant Creek Track’ to tie in to ‘Mount Murray Track North’ and ‘Mount Murray Logging Road’. Back burning has commenced.

Holding the fire edge to the west of the ‘Diamantina River’ remains critical for preventing the easterly expansion of the fire and for protecting ‘Mt Hotham’ from fire.

Maintain and extend fire Control Lines South and South-west of ‘Harrietville’ along the ‘West Ovens Track’ , ‘New Link Track’ and ‘Albion Track’ to link with the Western Division strategy.

Continue construction of fallback control lines to the west of the fire.

Rappel crews returning to Ovens today and will remain ready to be deployed to the Eastern Division if required.

It is proposed to burn out ‘Kings Spur Track at the earliest opportunity.

Ground Crews and aircraft will be redeployed to new fire starts as circumstances dictate..

Village Access:

Both roads to the ‘Hotham Village’ are closed under direction of the ‘Incident Control Coordinator’ in ‘Swifts Creek’. The GAR to Harrietville Road is designated as ‘Class A’ closure – strictly no access (due to the high risk of burnt 2003-fire-killed Alpine Ash above the road falling down onto the road). The GAR from Dinner Plain – Hotham Heights is designated ‘Class B’ closure – for Emergency Fire and Essential Services use only. Both approaches are expected to remain close for several weeks.

Further information can be obtained by ringing the MHARMB Office on 03 57593550 during office hours (Monday to Friday 8am to 4:30pm) or emailing; mhar@mthotham.com.au

Andrew Lean
Media Liaison – MHARMB
15 February 2013

Harrietville - Alpine South Bushfire Map