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Construction of water pipeline to help combat peat fire

POSTED: 
7 April 2018

Construction of an above-ground water pipeline has commenced near Cobrico in south west Victoria, to help Victorian firefighters combat the nearby peat fire.

Incident Controller Graeme Armstrong said staff and volunteers in the field and at the Control Centres have done a fantastic job combating the Lake Cobrico peat fire thus far. The construction of the pipeline, expected to be completed in the coming days, will significantly enhance the water available to crews on the ground.

“This four kilometre above-ground pipeline means we’ll be able to pump water directly to the peat fire, helping us to advance our firefighting efforts and reduce the impacts on local communities,” Mr Armstrong said.

A range of other firefighting strategies are also helping crews to make good progress at the Elingamite and Bullen-Merri peat fires.

“Everyone working on these peat fires should be proud of their efforts. They are very difficult to beat – often taking weeks if not months to control and this is another positive step in the right direction,” Mr Armstrong said.

“We are utilising a range of strategies to combat the fires including the use of Specialist Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS) units from Tasmania and Latrobe Valley. The CAFS units are proving to be very successful in helping supress smoke.”

Smoke from the peat fires is expected to continue to impact nearby communities for some time, particularly in Cobden. Other communities that may be impacted include Cobrico, Elingamite, Elingamite North and Camperdown.

Weather conditions over the coming days are being monitored closely to ensure the community remains well informed about how they can stay safe.

The Incident Controller, Environment Protection Authority and Department of Health and Human Services are strongly encouraging community members to stay away from areas heavily affected by the smoke from the peat fires. The health and safety of the community and emergency responders continues to be the highest priority.

If community members are experiencing symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure, visit the Community Health Assessment Centre open between 8am and 8pm at the Terang Relief Centre, 129 High Street, Terang. If community members have concerns about their carbon monoxide levels overnight, they can visit the Terang Hospital at 13 Austin Avenue, Terang.

“Everyone needs to take steps to protect their health and seek appropriate advice,” Mr Armstrong said.

“Any farmers with affected livestock are advised to contact their local vet or Agriculture Victoria.”

For further information, community members can check the VicEmergency app or website (www.emergency.vic.gov.au), call the VicEmergency Hotline 1800 226 226 or visit the relief centre at Terang.