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Worsening Fire Conditions Forecast in East Gippsland

2 January 2020

There are hot, dry and windy weather conditions forecast for Friday and Saturday. Under these conditions all of the fires currently burning are likely to grow significantly and may become uncontrollable. New fire starts are likely as a result of lightning which is forecast to be a risk. Any lightning strikes in dry, drought affected forests have the potential to quickly become fires that threaten lives and homes.

Now is the time for people in East Gippsland to take action to keep themselves safe. If you are able to leave safely you should do so tonight or early tomorrow morning. If you are unable to leave you should take actions to prepare to shelter.

People who are in East Gippsland, in the Great Dividing Range area including Omeo, Swifts Creek and Ensay, should take the opportunity to leave today and travel to Wangaratta or Wodonga.

If it is safe for you to leave you can travel to friends and family outside the potential impact area or travel to Bairnsdale. You can choose to stay in built up areas of Lakes Entrance.

East Gippsland communities could be impacted today by a fire front, spot fires and ember attacks on homes, or major roads being closed resulting in communities being isolated. If the fires cross or threatens the Princes Highway it will be closed.

Leave if you can:

  • Communities in East Gippsland who are able to safely leave are encouraged to do so today or early on Friday.
  • Travel to family and friends who are outside of the area. You can also travel to a relief centre. You can find out which relief centre is closest to you by visiting:
  • Before you travel check that your planned route and destination are not currently under threat of fire. While travelling in the area you should monitor weather conditions by listening to local or ABC radio as the situation may change quickly.
  • When travelling take care on the roads and drive to the conditions. Smoke from these fires may impact visibility when driving.
  • There are a number of major and local roads currently closed as a result of the fires. Further road closures may occur, including on roads that have recently been reopened, if they are threatened or impacted by fire. 

When you leave:

  • When you leave you should take the following items with you:
    • Cash
    • Clothing for 3 days
    • Medicine for 3 days
    • Phone and chargers
    • Toiletries
    • Important documents
    • Mementos and photos
    • Pets essentials, including leash and carriers
    • Make sure you have enough petrol in your car


If you are unable to leave:

  • If you are unable to leave the area you should move to built up areas if it is safe to do so.
  • Prepare to shelter by taking the following steps:
    • Have clothing that will protect you including a top with long sleeves and trousers. If you can wear clothing made from pure cotton or wool. Wear sturdy shoes or boots and heavy duty gloves. 
    • Gather wool or heavy blankets.
    • If you currently have power you should charge you mobile phone.
    • Useful items to gather now includes a torch, batteries, a radio, a phone charger (or in car phone charger), battery back up packs, food and water, medical supplies and a first aid kit.
    • Consider your pets – gather their food and water.
    • Move flammable items away from your home including furniture, doormats, wood and BBQs.
  • A Neighbourhood Safer Place, also known as a Bushfire Place of Last Resort, is for when all other bushfire plans have failed and only if it is nearby. They do not guarantee safety but may offer some protection from flame and heat.  Travelling to a Neighbourhood Safer Place can be dangerous.
  • If you aren’t able to shelter in a building, other last resort options include:
    • Shelter in the middle of a large open area like a ploughed paddock, football oval or sporting reserve.
    • Get into a large body of water like a dam, lake, river, the ocean or inground pool.
    • Try to protect yourself from the fire's heat.


Everyone in East Gippsland or who has left East Gippsland should register with Register.Find.Reunite online at This will assist both the emergency services and allow your loved ones to know you are safe.

Victorians are reminded to connect to multiple sources for emergency information, including the VicEmergency app,, 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.

You can view a map of the area here: