Grassfire threatens homes: fire risk remains

February 16th, 2023Grassfire threatens homes: fire risk remains

Several houses were threatened when a grassfire broke out on Mount Glasgow near Clunes on the border of Hepburn and Central Goldfields shires ...

Words: Eve Lamb | Images: Supplied

Several houses were threatened when a grassfire broke out on Mount
Glasgow near Clunes on the border of Hepburn and Central Goldfields
shires earlier this month.

The cause of the fire at this stage remains subject to police investigation and, at
the time of writing, remained classed as undetermined.
Nineteen CFA brigades including those from Talbot, Clunes and Creswick, Air
Bendigo crews in Firebird 305 and Helitak 335, plus police traffic control and Forest
Fire Management Victoria were involved in the incident which began on Saturday
February 4 around 3pm.
Talbot CFA captain Ross Andrews said it was lucky that conditions were
not more severe, noting that the changeable whirling nature of the fire direction
complicated efforts to bring it under control. Several houses were threatened as the
fire burnt in hilly terrain off McCallums Creek Road.
About 94 hectares, and one campervan, were burnt after fire crews had battled for
about an hour before being able to contain it.
“It would have burnt about 300 acres and travelled well over a kilometre,” Ross
said. “The cause is still to be determined. Looking at the wider picture, Daylesford CFA captain Alistair Grant says this
year’s milder season has been comparatively kind in the Daylesford patch of the state’s
central fire region – but cautioned against complacency.
“Daylesford is still relatively green but we could get a week of hot weather
and it could dry off quickly. We’ve had a grassfire at Yandoit a few weeks ago, and
we recently had a grass fire at East Street caused by mowing. The weather’s been
reasonably mild and we haven’t had either extreme or catastrophic conditions this
“But north of Daylesford it is quite dry and CFA Region 15 will soon be running
some bushfire planning sessions – one at Daylesford and one at Eganstown. They will
be advertised.”
While the conditions have been milder this year, the next couple of months will
be telling, David Freelove says.
“February and March will be the tell-tale months,” he says, cautioning against
being lulled into a false sense of security by any cooler days.
“From the start of this year we’ve had four larger grassfires and calls to several
(illegal) burn-offs during the fire danger period,” he says.
“Although it’s been a mild season the grassfires we’ve had have run fairly fast and
have not been as predictable as in previous years. It’s been a different system.”
CFA brigade captains are all keen to remind landholders that restrictions remain
in force, and while ambient temperatures may drop it does not mean restrictions – or
the risk of serious outcomes – have ended.

DEECA (formerly DELWP) Midlands District manager David Watson said
FFMV were continuing to monitor forest and weather conditions and conduct
fuel management works, such as planned burning, slashing, or mulching whenever
conditions allow.
“We’re hoping to complete a series of high priority burns in the Daylesford,
Gisborne, Macedon and Blackwood areas over the coming months,” he said.
For planned burns head to www.vic.gov.au/plannedburns or call 1800 226 226.

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