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Firefighting tactics explored to suppress peat fire

POSTED: 
31 March 2018

Emergency management agencies are exploring a number of different tactics on three peat fires in Victoria’s south west.

There are three peat fires – one at Lake Bullen Merri, Lake Elingamite and the largest of concern is at Cobrico.

Incident Controller Graeme Armstrong said a number of techniques were being explored to suppress the smoke which was impacting on communities.

“We know peat fires are extremely difficult to extinguish and we need a lot of water to do that. We are exploring the best ways to be able to pump large amounts of water into the peat area,” he said.

“Specialist Compressed Air Foam System (CAFs) trucks from Tasmania will assist with minimising smoke and carbon monoxide around the main peat fire.

“We are also trialling a new partnership with firefighting trucks that are usually stationed at airports which have capacity to pump larger quantities of water from a further distance.”

EPA’s air monitoring stations is continuing at Cobden, Camperdown, Terang and Cobrico to monitor air conditions that may affect nearby properties.

The Terang Relief Centre is open during day hours for community members with health monitoring available at the site 24 hours a day.

Mr Armstrong said community members around the peat areas need to be aware of the health risks associated with peat smoke.

“Health and safety of the community and firefighters are the highest priority. Everyone needs to take steps to protect their health and seek out appropriate advice for them.”

A guide and associated peat smoke maps are available on www.emergency.vic.gov.au/relief