Another weekend on high alert

Another weekend on high alert

Marlo residents were on full alert as the threat of bushfire knocked on their backdoor on the weekend, Cape Conran heavily impacted by fire activity.

Australian Defence Force personnel were on hand in Marlo at the ready to assist should evacuation become necessary.

Fire activity increased in the Bendoc, Cape Conran and Marlo Plains areas over the past few days, due to high temperatures and strong winds.

“Unfortunately, Cape Conran Coastal Park suffered infrastructure damage to the Banksia Bluff Campground and many day visitor sites,” Incident Controller at Orbost, Kim Martin, said.

“The reception office, main administration building, three cabins and six safari tents were destroyed. Other assets were damaged including extensive damage to some of the boardwalks and beach access steps.

“Buildings that have survived include five cabins and additional structures.

“The roadways into the area are still closed to traffic, except emergency vehicles, and further dangerous tree and asset assessments will continue over the coming weeks.”

Regional Director Parks Victoria, Graeme Baxter, said many East Gippsland locals and others who have been regular campers at Cape Conran over the years will be very saddened to hear of the damage to this popular place.

“We look forward to watching the environment recovering over time and will work with our local community to start planning for the future,” Mr Baxter said.

Mr Martin said a fire also pushed through to Flu Track, south east of Bendoc and into private property areas then crossed the Bonang Road on Sunday.

“This is impacting our ability to open access to Bonang Road. There were phone outages at Bendoc, which have now been restored,” he said.

“More stable and cooler weather conditions are expected for the next few days, which will help our crews establish and strengthen control lines around the active edges of the fires.”

A number of areas across the landscape are still without power. Ausnet has been focussing on connections at Bemm River and generators are still servicing Mallacoota while work is continuing to restore the main feed.

Work continues to open high priority roads, particularly the Princes Highway from Cann River to the New South Wales border and the Bonang Highway. The Monaro Highway is now open from Cann River to the NSW border. Many sections of the road have speed restrictions and VicPol will be enforcing speed limits.

“For safety reasons, drivers are reminded to obey road closures and speed restrictions, and continue to visit VicRoads Traffic for updated information,” Mr Martin said.

It is important to stay vigilant and informed through the Vic Emergency app or website, local media and trusted community information sources.

IMAGE: A contingent of Queensland regular army was on standby in Marlo, ready to assist should evacuation be required on the weekend as a bushfire that was causing destruction in Cape Conran threatened to head west towards the town. Photo: Marlo and Beyond Images of Australia by Helmut Kummer