If the thunderstorm hits the state from the south-west to the east as expected, the consequences might be catastrophic
Fear of more fires overnight due to thunderstorms.
Three hundred twenty seven accounted fires have started across Victoria since 12 am yesterday, including another 46 overnight.
“It has been a very, very difficult couple of days, yet it could have been so much worse,” Premier Daniel Andrews said earlier today this morning congratulating emergency crews for their prompt response, battling successfully 300 fires in extremely hot and difficult conditions.
“It is important to recognise our emergency services have risen to that challenge.”
“Whilst it has been a very challenging 30-odd hours and the next 12-24 will be difficult as well, we have come through well to this point,” Mr Andrews warned Victorians.
“Let common sense drive what you do, heed the warnings … and do nothing that might contribute to a fire starting.”
Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley, also warned residents in Victoria’s centre and west territories to remain vigilant for “uncontrollable, unpredictable and very fast” fires this afternoon, stressing the risk in the heat and wind struck regions between Warrnambool, Horsham, Bendigo and Geelong.
According to the Commissioner, the consequences if the thunderstorm hits the state from the south-west to the east as expected, might be catastrophic.
“In Victoria, we have seen more property lost, we have seen more loss of life after the wind change,” Mr Lapsley said.
“So needs to be understood and it needs to be taken very seriously.”
Mr Lapsley said only the 5000ha Moyston blaze near Ararat in Victoria’s west remained in the major fire category, with crews on high alert and a Watch and Act warning in place, while families are still advised to leave the area. The cause of the blaze is believed to be a scare gun, used by farmers to keep away birds.
The strong northerly winds are keeping fire-fighters on high alert, for fear that the fire could break containment lines.Two fire-fighters needed emergency medical attention for dehydration and heat stress while a 50 year old woman was treated for smoke inhalation.
A teenage boy was arrested earlier this day at the scene, after allegedly lighting a grass-fire in Meadow Heights in Melbourne’s north, about 8.40pm. The minor was charged with recklessly causing a bushfire, and lighting a fire during a fire danger period and on a total fire ban day. He was also charged with reckless conduct endangering life and reckless conduct endangering serious injury, and was bailed to appear at a children’s court.
Another suspicious grass-fire in Police Paddocks Reserve in Endeavour Hills, took place round 10.30 pm, burning though the grasslands.
Firefighters this morning stopped the spread of a grass-fire in Plumpton, in Melbourne’s outer-west but 83 fire crews and 11 aircraft are still battling the 5000ha Moyston grass-fire. Meanwhile, over 200 fire-fighters and seven aircraft from NSW’s Rural Fire Service have been deployed to Bendigo.
Another grass-fire blaze is moving toward houses and factories in Hastings, on the Mornington Peninsula, pushed south by the wind, towards Reid Pde from Autumn Court. Metro has suspended the Stony Point line because of the fire. Severe thunderstorms are expected to lash the region tormenting the fire-fighters who continue to battle a 4712ha blaze at Moyston, west of Ararat.
According to the CFA, here is a high risk that extreme weather conditions today could cause fire activity to increase and possible over run containment lines.
“Warnings levels may rise and fall as conditions change throughout the day.”
The weather bureau warns for severe thunderstorms shaking Victorians in the South West, Wimmera and parts of Central, Mallee, Northen Country and North Central districts following the sweltering over 40 degrees temperatures.
“Residents should prepare for damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding.”
Victorians in Horsham, Stawell, Hamilton, Ballarat, Maryborough and Castlemaine should be extra careful.