Big fires contained. No threat to communities. Marysville Caravan Park gone Glen Cromie works to re-open

February 10, 2009
Big fires contained. No threat to communities.  Marysville Caravan Park gone Glen Cromie works to re-open

Today,Friday march 6 the DSE and CFAsay two of theVictorias largest fires, the Kilmore East-Murrindindi Complex South fire and the Bunyip Ridge fire, have been successfully contained.

The one remaining going fire, the Cathedral-Wilsons Promontary fire, is expected to
be contained within the next five days. Awareness messages are likely to be downgraded as fires are contained and no longer pose a threat to communities.

Travellers are asked to avoid all fire areas.

Marysville Caravan Park washiton Saturday night (Feb 7). Larry and Margaret Richmond of Marysville Caravan Park made it out in time ahead of the bushfire storm which has destroyed the Victorian town in the foothills of Victoria's Great Dividing Range.

The fire threat continues today in what is now Australia's worst fire disaster. Glen Cromie Caravan park, near Drouin, is badly damaged but is working to re-open on Monday March 23. Healesville, Warburton and surrounding small townshave been under constant stress from the fires situation as it ebbs and flows.
The Marysville Caravan Park Family Park chain members fled ahead of the fire storm on the hottest day in Victoria's recorded weather history on Saturday Feb 7..

Driven by raging winds with gusts that ranged to 100kmh thefire frontshit Marysville and Victoria like an atomic bomb.
Larry and Margaret Richmond had only minutes to get out of their Marysville Caravan Park and stayed that night with Ray Octigan at Bonnie Doon Caravan Park. The caravan park network is famous for looking after its own in bad times.

They then went to Albury All Seasons Tourist Park to avoid heavy smoke from massive fire fronts which stretched from Mansfield to Yea and includes Healesville and the nearby grape growing areas of the Yarra Valley and intoGippsland.

Firefighter have been successful in preventing major fires near Yea and through the Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley joining into one fire front.

Larry and Margaret told GoSee they wished to thank fellow parkies for their support. They are recovering at their home in Victor Harbour South Australia.

Marysvilleis a crime scene area. Marysville residents were bused into the burnt-out town to look at their properties, but they were not allowed to leave thevehicle.

Healesvillehas been through constantfire tension for the last18 days with fire threats and alerts. Healesville Tourist Park, Kim Anderson, told GoSeeonTuesdaymorning (Feb 10) that the caravan park has been told to evacuate all tourists. Lake Sambell Caravan Park , Sue Roger Humphris at Beechworth went through a similar experience. Beechworth is now out of the fire danger.

The Yarra Valley Grape Grazing Festival was cancelled until later in the year. Wineries have been damaged and in some cases burnt out by the fires. Many beautiful attractions which were part of the Yarra Valley are gone and sadly their people with them.

Sad blue and pink ribbons on gateposts and fence show where houses have gone and residents have died.

On Tuesday (Feb 17) a GoSee source said that on a run through the worst of the fire areas to Marysville and Steels Creek the remains of burnt animals are everywhere. Survivors who were given personal products are in shock. Here is an impression of the fire scene -

Went into the Yarra Valley to deliver the toiletries to the bush fire victims.

There is a blue flag on the property gates where people lived and a blue and pink flag on the gates of the properties of where people died.

The area looks like a bomb exploded.

There are animal bodies and parts everywhere.

Glen Cromie Caravan Park, Charlie and Karen Azzopardi, (glencromie@telstra.com) nearDrouin in the Latrobe Valley of Gippsland has been affected by the recent bushfires in the area and has received damage to the caravan park.

Charlie and Karen told GoSeelast Tuesdaythe Glen Cromie had -taken a direct hit from thefire front.

Karen and Charlie saytheir pretty caravan park will re-open on Monday, March 23 . We will be up and running soon - can't keep us down for long! they said.

They are now working to re-open their caravan park on Monday March 23.

For urgent matters please leave contact details on the Glen Cromieanswering machine by phoning: 03 5626 8212 andKaren and Charliewill try to return calls as soon as possible.

Editor's note GoSee is happy to add any messages which help caravan parks on which thebushfires have impacted with this Info Feature and update them as needed.

Angela Bryan manager of the GoSee New Zealand office in Rotoruasays that the west coast of the South Island is getting smoke haze from the Australian bushfires. Rotorua and Queenstown recorded 32 deg heat on (Feb 9)the highest reading ever. And the humidity in Auckland was killing.

While you are cooking in radiant heat in Southern Australia we are sweating it out. Auckland recorded 100% humidity. STICKY STICKY STICKY, she said.

Marysville after the fire storm. Photo Craig Abraham of The Age
Marysville after the fire storm. Photo Craig Abraham of The Age

Marysville was established in 1863 as a stop for prospectors en route to the nearby Woods Point gold diggings.

Now the town is in ashes. A GoSee Leader Newspapers source who drove through the fire scene to Marysville and Steels Creek this week said - It looks like the end of the world. It reminds me of the filmOn the Beach in which people face total loss, the source said

Marysville was famous for its leafy streetscapes shaded by trees which florished in the cool damp climate for more than a century.

Police say the Victorian bushfires death toll is 210 confirmed.A Canberra fire-fighter was killed by a falling tree and new discoveries of deathsmake the final fire toll uncertain.Special police units areworking through the grim task of finding bodies and confirming deaths.About 30 people arethought to be missing police say.

Falling treesare a hazard in the bushfire areasand will be formonths.Trees can fall without warning.

An insight into the potential scale of the bushfire tragedy came from the Coronersofficewhen it was revealed planswere in place to handle up to 300 deaths.

TheVictorian Premier John Brumbysaid he expected more than 200 deaths. His fears are now confirmed.

Devastated areas are still being searched. The figures are between 1800 and2000 houses are gone and over 7000 people left homeless.An area of more than 3,000 square kilometres if affected.Big fire fronts are still active.

Editor's note: Please see current Department of Sustainability and the Environment Fire Situation update with this Info Article.

The Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Monday Feb 9 the worst was yet to come.

The Victorian bushfire tragedy will remembered as one of the darkest days in Australia's peacetime history, she said.

A tragedy beyond belief, beyond precedent and really beyond words, she told parliament.

Ms Gillard said it would be a day remembered for the lives lost, and a day when families and communities were changed forever.

Bushfire threat at levels never seen before in Victoria. Courtesy Red Cross
Bushfire threat at levels never seen before in Victoria. Courtesy Red Cross

It will be remembered as a day when the fires raged across the state, from Horsham in the west, Bendigo and Beechworth in the north and in an arc of destruction from West Gippsland to Kinglake and Kilmore.

It was blacker than the human tragedy of Black Friday 1939 which took 71 lives and Ash Wednesday 1983, which killed 75 people Julia Gillard said, adding the bushfires were a tragedy beyond belief, beyond precedent and beyond words, she said.

The grizzly reality is that the record number of lives lost will continue to rise.

More bodies will be found and identified by our emergency services, Ms Gillard warned.

Burns victims will sadly succumb to their severe injuries despite the intensive efforts of our health professionals.

Animals have been killed and hurt too in the bushfires. Vets say that huge numbers of animals and birds have been lost and there are fears that some unique species like Victoria's bird emblem the Helmeted Honeyeater may be threatened with extinction. To assist injured wildlife -
www.wildlifevictoria.org.au

Informed bushfire websites are :

www.dse.vic.gov.au www.cfa.vic.gov.au www.redcross.org.au

Historic Healesville in Victoria's Yarra Valley has survived despite a series of Urgent Threat messages from fire authoritiesas the fire situation fluctuates around it and small Uppper Yarra Valley towns like Warburton, Millgrove and Narebethong which is on the edge of the Yarra Valley National Park have faced high fire threat from wind changes.

There is a bushfire appeal line set up and donations can be made to RED CROSS on 1800 811 700. or www.redcross.org.au

The Victorian Government started with a $2m donation and the Federal Government pledged $10m towards the rebuild.

Money is pouring into the Victorian Bushfire Fund set up to provide vital support to people affected by the devastating fires that have ravaged much of Victoria over the past few days.
Red Cross says the fund has received more than $200 million from website and phone donations and major fund raising events. The Salvation Army has raised $12mwith governments including the Victorian Government and Federal Government and corporates pledging additional sums. Donations continue to flow in.

An independent panel made up of community leaders will oversee the appeal Fund's operation. Criteria for assistance will include the extent of the hardship covered and the extent to which a person's livelihood has been impacted.

Donations can be made using the Red Cross secure online donations form or by phoning 1800 811 700.

Australian Red Cross Chief Executive Officer Robert Tickner said the response from Australians had been overwhelming with the fund continuing to grow at a rapid pace, but the needs of those affected are massive.

'The response so far has been incredible,' Mr Tickner said. 'We have been inundated with people wanting to contribute in some way and in just under 24 hours, we have received pledges from nearly 40,000 people from across Australia,' he saidlast Monday.

Donations to the Victorian Bushfire Fund will directly assist individuals, businesses and communities affected by the fires.

GoSee is sure all Australians will help and contribute to those who desperately need help and have lost all.

We trust other caravan park residents and owners are all safe and our travelling community get behind those who need help and support as soon as practical so caravan parks and Australian tourism don't suffer a double whammy with a visitor void later.

Please call Victorian Bushfire Information Line 1800 240 667 for information on fires in Victoria.

Additional Information
Tourists are advised to avoid the following areas: People are asked to avoid all forest areas, and in particular the Mt Cole, Creswick and Wombat state forests. Some forest roads in the fire area are closed.
Information on road closures is available on the VicRoads website at
www.vicroads.vic.gov.au

Relief Centres
Information is available on the DSE website about the location and operating hours of Emergency Relief Centres

STATEWIDE OVERVIEW
Current information as of 7.30 am Friday 6 March 2009.

Friday 6 March 2009 is not a day of Total Fire Ban across Victoria.

Three of the states largest fires, the Kilmore East-Murrindindi Complex South and North fires, and the Bunyip Ridge fire, have been successfully contained. Contained means that solid control lines completely surround the fire, and fire agencies are confident that fire will not break control lines given the prevailing weather conditions. These fires currently pose no threat to communities.

The reduced fire activity and cooler weather has allowed fire crews to work directly on the fires edge. Crews continue to patrol and black out fire across the state.

The one remaining going fire, the Cathedral-Wilsons Promontary fire, is expected to be contained within the next five days. Awareness messages are likely to be downgraded as fires are contained and no longer pose a threat to communities.


WILSONS PROMONTORY NATIONAL PARK-CATHEDRAL RANGE

Awareness message at 5.00pm on Thursday 5 March 2009

Incident Information

The Wilsons Prom Cathedral fire, burning 6 kilometres south of Yanakie, has now subsided due to rainfall overnight. However, it has potential to re-ignite in coming days. It is estimated to have burnt 24 800 hectares.

Crews will continue patrolling the fire area and distinguishing hot spots.

KILMORE EAST- MURRINDINDI COMPLEX NORTH

Awareness message as at 6.00pm Thursday 5 March 2009

The Kilmore East-Murrindindi Complex North fire is now listed as contained. It has burnt approximately 168,452 hectares.

Cool weather and drizzle have significantly reduced fire behaviour in the area.

Crews will continue patrols over the next few weeks with the focus now moving to rehabilitation assessments and works.

KILMORE EAST- MURRINDINDI COMPLEX SOUTH
Awareness message Final Advice at 10.00am Thursday 5 March 2009

Incident Information

The Kilmore East - Murrindindi fire, is now listed at contained. It is estimated to have burnt 86,875 hectares.

Crews will be patrolling the area over the next few weeks with the focus now moving to rehabilitation.

Residents within the fire affected area need to be aware that there may be some intermittent fire activity behind control lines over the ensuing days.

Although the conditions have moderated, the public needs to remain vigilant and aware.

Relief Centres

Information is available on the DSE website about the location and operating hours of Emergency Relief Centres

BUNYIP RIDGE FIRE

This fire was declared contained at 5.30pm on Wednesday 4 March 2009

Awareness message Final Advice as at 11.00am Thursday 5 March 2009

Incident Information

The current fire status is contained. The Bunyip Ridge Fire is burning in the Bunyip State Forest areas between Gembrook, Powelltown Neerim Junction and Tonimbuk and is estimated to be approximately 26,200 hectares in size. The fire has now subsided due to the sustained control efforts and rainfall over the past two nights.

Crews will continue patrolling the fire area and extinguishing hot spots over the coming week until the fire is safe, rehabilitation works has commenced on tracks and will accelerate as tracks dry out and are safe to access.

Other information:
Parents are advised to refer to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Gippsland Region website www.gippsland.vic.edu.au to confirm school closures and school bus operations.

Landholders in the Longwarry area: are advised that they should not attempt to deal with fire hotspots in the organic matter just below the surface. They have the potential to turn into grass fires if treated incorrectly. Further information is available on 1800 240 667.

Visitors are advised to stay away from the fire area this weekend.

Relief Centres
Information is available on the DSE website about the location and operating hours of Emergency Relief Centres

Core Advice
There may still be localised smoke in the vicinity of fire affected areas.
Road use in the area may still be hazardous. Watch out for fallen trees, power lines, abandoned cars, wildlife and emergency services vehicles still operating in the area.
Residents should expect that many branches may fall from nearby trees in the next few days, and should be vigilant to protect themselves from injury.
People in the area need to remain alert as there may not be warning should conditions change unexpectedly. Continue to listen to ABC or local radio for updates in these fires.
Be prepared to activate your bushfire survival plan if necessary.
Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Additional Information
Information on road closures is available on the VicRoads website at www.vicroads.vic.gov.au
The following parks are closed as at Monday 2 March due to fires: Cathedral Range State Park; Yarra Ranges National Park; Lake Eildon National Park (except for the Fraser Campground, day use only); Wilsons Promontory; visitor sites in the Otways, Dandenong Ranges National Park; Dandenong Ranges Gardens; Warrandyte State Park; Organ Pipes National Park, Cardinia Reservoir Park; Maroondah Reservoir Park; and Upper Yarra Reservoir Park. Full details of closures are available on the Parks Victoria website www.parkweb.vic.gov.au

Tourists are advised to avoid the following areas: Today people are asked to avoid all forest areas, and in particular the Mt Cole, Creswick and Wombat state forests. Some forest roads in the fire area are closed.

Additional Information
For information on park closures, please visit the Parks Victoria website
www.parkweb.vic.gov.au or call the Information Centre on 131963.
Emergency services agencies are requesting that ALL non essential travel to fire
areas be avoided. The roads need to be clear for emergency vehicles.
In the event of essential travel, please plan ahead. Be familiar with all of the
current warnings.
For information on road closures please visit the VicRoads at
www.vicroads.vic.gov.au or on 131 171
For any health related issues or advice, please visit the Department of Human
Services website www.dhs.vic.gov.au/emergency/current-events/bushfire
Listen to ABC and local radio for fire updates and be aware of local conditions
Check the DSE and CFA websites

For information on fires in Victoria and general fire safety advice, please contact
the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) on freecall 1800 240 667. Callers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech / communication impairment may call textphone/ telewriter (TTY) on 1800 122 969. Information is also available at www.dse.vic.gov.au/fires or www.cfa.vic.gov.au Information about fire restrictions, fire bans and fires on private land can be found at www.cfa.vic.gov.au

CORE ADVICE
People need to remain alert as there may not be a warning should conditions change unexpectedly. Continue to listen to ABC or local radio for updates.

Be prepared to activate your bushfire survival plan if necessary.

Decide now if you are going to stay or go. Remember that it is very dangerous to leave late with a fire in the area. Road use in the area will be extremely hazardous due to low visibility from smoke. Watch out for fallen trees, power lines, abandoned cars, wildlife and emergency services vehicles.

If you plan to stay, remember to seek shelter from radiant heat. Should the fire reach your property, close all doors and windows and stay inside the house while the fire passes.

Remain alert, extinguish any small fires and if necessary, move outside to burnt ground once the fire has passed.

Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Make informed decisions when travelling in Victoria

The following is from Tourism Victoriawww.tourism.vic.gov.aufor the benefit of people travelling to Victoria.

Caravan Parks may wish to make this information available to guests who are heading that way.

Message is as follows: In regards to travelling within Victoria we encourage all visitors to make informed decisions and to check the following websites/call centres for the latest bushfire updates:

If travelling, listen to ABC Local Radio or community radio stations.

ABC Local Radio Frequencies: Alexandra 102.9 FM Apollo Bay 89.5 FM Ballarat 107.9 FM Bendigo 91.1 FM Bright 89.7 FM Cann River 106.1 FM Corryong 99.7 FM Eildon 97.3 FM Flowerdale/Hazeldene 97.3 FM Goulburn Valley 99.7 FM Horsham 549 AM Latrobe Valley 100.7 FM Mallacoota 104.9 FM Mansfield 103.7 FM Melbourne 774 AM Mildura/Sunraysia 104.3 FM Murray Valley 102.1 FM Myrtleford 91.7 FM Omeo 720 AM Orbost 97.1 FM Portland 96.9 FM Sale 828 AM Shepparton 97.7 FM Upper Murray, Wodonga 106.5 FM Warrnambool 1602 AM Western Victoria 94.1 FM

For latest bushfire information, check the CFA www.cfa.vic.gov.au and DSE www.dse.vic.gov.au websites or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667. Road closures: For road closures check the Vic Roads website www.vicroads.vic.gov.auor call 13 11 70.

Before the fires GoSee enjoyed a peaceful cabin for two at Marysville Caravan Park
Before the fires GoSee enjoyed a peaceful cabin for two at Marysville Caravan Park