Warning Alert | Dec. 30: 3:22 a.m. EST
Emergency warning in effect due to bushfires in East Gippsland and northern Melbourne, Victoria State, Australia, Dec. 30.
This alert began 30 Dec 2019 08:25 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Dec 2019 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: Bushfires, very high fire danger threat
- Location: East Gippsland and northern Melbourne, Victoria State
- Time Frame: Through at least Dec. 30
- Impact: Evacuations, road closures; transport, utility, and business disruptions likely
Authorities in Victoria State are maintaining an evacuation warning as well as emergency warnings for most parts of East Gippsland, as of Dec. 30. Officials have evacuated around 30,000 people from fire-affected areas. Reports indicate that a fire is also burning in the northern parts of Melbourne and is affecting Bundoora, Mills Park, and Greensborough areas since the afternoon of Dec. 30. Due to very hot and dry weather conditions with strong gusty winds, the fires will likely grow significantly. New fires are also possible as a result of dry lightning.
Authorities have issued an emergency warning or watch and act bushfire warning for much of East Gippsland. An emergency warning is currently in place for Bundoora, Greensborough, and Mill Park areas in northern Melbourne and south of Walwa. Officials advised residents between Scholar Drive And Booyan Court, north of Metropolitan Ring Road, to take shelter indoors as it was too late to leave. New fires are also possible near the New South Wales border.
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 closed Princes Highway between Bairnsdale and Genoa, the afternoon of Dec. 30, due to increased fire activity. 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.