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Media Releases

Safety advice for communities and people visiting East Gippsland

POSTED: 
27 December 2019

Holiday makers, visitors and residents in East Gippsland are urged to closely monitor emergency information as dangerous fire conditions are forecast in East Gippsland over this coming weekend and in particular on Monday 30th of December.

Visitors should plan what they will do if fire activity increases and find themselves in danger or have been instructed by the emergency services to take immediate action.  This includes where they will go, what they will take and how they will get to safety. 

There are three main fires which have already burnt more than 105,000 hectares in the forest near Bruthen and Buchan. These fires an active fire perimeter in excess of 1,000 kilometres and have the potential to escape containment lines and burn towards the coast. With very hot and dry conditions forecast from Saturday through to Monday, the East Gippsland fires are likely to move quickly and unpredictably.  An example of movement of these fire was seen on Friday 20 December when one of these fires moved more than 20 km in a single night and threatened communities triggering an Emergency Warning. Dry lightning is forecast this weekend which could start new fires.  The three going fires were started in this way

You should reconsider plans for walking, hiking, cycling, four wheel driving or camping in remote parks and forests in East Gippsland this weekend.  You may find yourself in danger if fire spreads or new fires start. The safest option is to relocate early.  South and West Gippsland are not impacted by these fires and visitors are welcome.  Outdoor activities can be enjoyed along the coast but ensure you are able to stay informed of the current situation. 

Parks, forests and campgrounds in East Gippsland may close at short notice for visitor safety on days of high fire risk or due to nearby fires.  For current closure information, please visit www.parks.vic.gov.au.

Accessing good information is critical. Know how to access emergency information from a number of sources including the VicEmergency app, www.emergency.vic.gov.au, tuning in to ABC radio or other emergency broadcasters including commercial and community radio stations or Sky TV or by phoning the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226 and following VicEmergency on Facebook and Twitter.

ABC Gippsland frequencies:

  • Sale 100.7 FM and 828 AM
  • Bairnsdale 100.7FM and 828 AM
  • Latrobe Valley 100.7 FM
  • Warragul 100.7FM
  • Omeo 720 AM
  • Orbost 97.1 FM
  • Mallacoota 104.9 FM
  • Cann River 106.1 FM

If you do leave the area, it’s important to register yourself as safe on Register. Find. Reunite. www.register.redcross.org.au

When travelling take care on the roads, drive to the conditions and be patient. As a large number of people drive to safer locations traffic delays are expected. There will be significant police presence in the area.

It will be smoky or hazy in the area. To find where smoke is, go to www.epa.vic.gov.au/for-community/environmental-information/air-quality/smoke

If you have concerns about your health you should seek medical advice or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024.  For more information on smoke and your health visit www.epa.vic.gov.au/your-environment/air/smoke

If you are sensitive to smoke:

  • Some people are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in smoke.
  • You will be more sensitive to smoke if you have a heart or lung condition (including asthma), are pregnant, or are over 65. Children up to 14 are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in smoke.
  • If you have a heart or lung condition, follow your treatment plan.
  • If you are sensitive to smoke you should reduce prolonged or heavy physical activity. Where possible you should try to stay indoors.
  • If you have asthma you should follow your asthma action plan.