CFA urges fire vigilance through to long weekend

SMOKE has drifted across the state from fires in the Gippsland and Alpine areas.

The Aberfeldy fire, which started last Thursday, has burnt more than 65,000 hectares. The Harrietville fire, which started Monday, has burnt more than 1,300 hectares.

CFA state duty officer Gary Weir said the two large fires were throwing up a large amount of smoke and would continue to do so for a while to come.

“That said, it’s important for people to monitor their local conditions and if they see flame or a smoke column please report it immediately to 000," Mr Weir said.

“As a safety precaution, the public are reminded to reduce speed on roads and drive to the conditions in smoke-affected areas.”

Locally in the Ballarat area, there is still fire activity around Creswick, from the Bald Hills Road fire which is contained.

The CFA crews are working to strengthen containment lines.

Drift smoke may be seen from nearby areas for several days.

Motorists are advised to take care with low visibility on local roads due to the smoke.

The Department of Health advises people experiencing symptoms due to smoke exposure to seek medical advice or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024.

Only local traffic may access Grays Road, with the eastern end of the road remaining closed.

Mr Weir said people travelling around the state this Australia Day long weekend needed to be aware of fire conditions, including Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans, and know what they will do if there are fires.

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“This includes staying informed throughout the long weekend because conditions can change rapidly and you need to be ready to act," Mr Weir said.

"When people are travelling they are often less aware of the local conditions and risk and are too relaxed. Decide your trigger to leave and don’t wait until it’s too late.”

WHAT TO DO:

 - Monitor conditions.

 - Check your bushfire survival plan. If you do not have a plan, decide what you will do if the situation changes.

 - If time permits, check your neighbours to see if they are monitoring conditions.

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