Bushfires are wreaking havoc in the state’s far east.
People near bushfires at Goongerah and Martins Creek were at noon yesterday told to evacuate with fire activity expected to worsen overnight.
A new fire, sparked on the coast at Wingan River on Sunday evening, was quickly deemed not yet under control with people in the area told it is too late to leave.
The fire caused a temporary closure of the Princes Highway between Cann River and Genoa, however the highway was reopened yesterday morning before closing again at around 12.30pm yesterday.
The bushfire travelled in a southwesterly direction on the coast on Sunday with yesterday bringing the potential for the fire to progress easterly towards Mallacoota and westerly towards Tamboon.
People at Mallacoota were yesterday preparing for the worst as the fire in its area was creating its own weather and dry lightning.
Residents living near Orbost were on Sunday briefed by firefighting personnel about the dangers and how to prepare.
Yesterday the town held a community meeting where around 70 residents voiced their anger at the closure of the town’s relief centre at the Orbost Community Sports Centre due to a lack of air conditioning. The Orbost Cricket Club Main Oval will now act as an evacuation site.
Residents were told the fires were moving faster than first expected due to an increase in wind strength.
Dry lightning was also forecast yesterday in East Gippsland. Any lightning strikes in dry, drought affected forests have the potential to quickly become fires that threaten lives and homes.
East Gippsland communities could be impacted 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.
Emergency Management Commissioner, Andrew Crisp said if you’re in East Gippsland today you should be aware of warnings issued for your area and carefully follow the instructions in the warnings.
“Roads could close with no warning as the fires will grow rapidly in size under hot and windy conditions,” Mr Crisp said.
“The safest place to be is in built up areas or to shelter indoors.”
Strike teams have taken off from Orbost to fight the fire threat surrounding the area. The Princes Highway was shut between Cann River and Genoa due to a Wingan River fire caused
on Sunday night due to dry lightning. (PS)