Warning Alert | Dec. 29: 7:35 a.m. EST
Bushfires in East Gippsland, Victoria State, Australia, Dec. 29. Emergency warning and evacuation orders in effect through Dec. 30.
This alert began 29 Dec 2019 12:33 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Dec 2019 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: Bushfires, very high fire danger threat
- Location: East Gippsland, Victoria State
- Time Frame: Through at least Dec. 30
- Impact: Evacuations, road closures; transport, utility, and business disruptions likely
The Victoria Country Fire Authority is maintaining an evacuation warning as well as emergency warnings for parts of East Gippsland, through at least Dec. 30. The authorities have stated that there are at least three significant fires burning near Bruthen, Buchan, and Bonang, which will likely impact nearby communities Dec. 30, due to very hot and dry weather conditions with strong gusty winds. Under these conditions, the fires will likely grow significantly, and potentially cross the Princes Highway (A1 Highway). New fires are also possible as a result of dry lightning.
An evacuation warning is in place for Goongerah and Martins Creek due to a bushfire approximately 14 km (9 miles) west of Goongerah. A relief center has been established at Orbost Community Sports Centre.
Amboyne, Bonang, Cabanandra, Deddick Valley, Dellicknora, and Tubbut are under emergency warnings due to the fire west of Goongerah, which is moving towards these communities. Several new fires have started northwest of Deddick due to lightning. New fires are also possible in Suggan Buggan area, north of the New South Wales border.
An emergency warning has also been issued for Wingan River due to a fire approximately 20 km (12 miles) east of Cann River. The fire has rapidly increased to 1,200 hectares (2,965 acres) and is moving in a southerly direction towards the coast.
Various other Watch and Act advisories are in place in the surrounding areas. Authorities could reissue, extends, or escalate their advisories depending on the growth and status of the fires.
Transport and Utilities
The bushfires have caused some road closures and localized transport disruptions in the affected areas; authorities have warned of the possible closure of Princes Highway Dec. 30, depending on the movement of the fires. The status of nearby roads could change over the coming hours and days; authorities could close routes within the wildfire complex and areas under evacuation and emergency warnings due to fire activity and the needs of response operations. Low visibility from smoke and possible ashfall could contribute to traffic delays and congestion in the region. Power outages are possible in places.
Smoke from fires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees, plants, and possibly building materials. Such smoke can hurt eyes, irritate the respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases. Smoke may also worsen symptoms for people who have preexisting respiratory conditions, such as allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Heed all evacuation orders. Seek updated information on road conditions if driving in the affected area; road closures and detours will cause increased congestion and delays. Individuals not under evacuation warnings should consider remaining inside well-ventilated, air-conditioned spaces to reduce exposure to smoke. Collect essential items - including identification and any important legal and travel documents - in a "go-bag" that can be easily accessed. Charge battery-powered devices in case of prolonged power outages.