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Mt Hotham Resort Fires Update - 3pm

Mt Hotham Resort Fires Update - 3pm

Sunday 10thth February 2013 – 3pm






Harrietville – Alpine Fire Statistics:


                                        North           South

Fire Area:                      13974 ha      6523 ha

Fire Perimeter:              95 km          101 km

Control Lines built:       208 km        10 km

Line to be built:             10 km          50 km

Potential Spread:           High            High




 Photo: Burnt Area on back of Big D            






Resort Threat:  Medium – currently NO active fires within Resort boundaries.


Conditions:        Currently; Fine and hazy.  Temperature: 18’c (expected max. of 18’c) 

                            Humidity: 24% Wind: Due NNW at 34 km/h with gusts to 55 km/h.


Road Status:      Both Approaches Closed – Emergency & Essential Servive Vehicles Access Only.





Current Status:


The ‘Harrietville – Alpine North and South Fires’ remain classified as ‘going’ and are continuing to spread - condition overnight were classified as 'mild'.




Today is hazy with gusty winds up to 55 km from the NNW - the fires immediately threatening Mt Hotham Village have been extinguished. A weak south-easterly change is due this evening, however no significant rain is forecast.  The humidity has fallen significantly to a very low 24% and the gusty winds are fanning the fires that are still ignited.


Fires are still very active in national park SE and NNW of the Resort.   Uncontrolled fires in the 'Upper Dargo Catchment', 'Morning Star Spur', below 'Baldy Hollow' and out in the 'Dimantina River'  (to the north of the Resort) - are all of concern.


The fires in ‘Alpine-North’ continue to burn. In particular the fire located at ‘Dimantina River’ on west boundary of the Resort continue is becoming active and threatening to move further toward the Resort catchment. Holding the hot edge to the west of the ‘Dimantina River’ remains critical for preventing the easterly expansion of the fire and for protecting ‘Mt Hotham’ from fire from the north.   However, protecting Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain townships from the fire has been the primary objective for today.  Numerous hot spots remain, right down to the ‘Dimantina River’ bank.  DSE crews are using hand-held IR detectors to locate hot spots for suppression.


In regards to 'Alpine-South fire, smoke can be clearly seen from the bottom of the Baldy Creek gully in the 'Dargo Catchment', some 2 km away from the Lodges at the end of the Davenport Village. There is fire below 'Baldy Hollow' that could potentially run up the back of the Mt Hotham Summit when SE wind change arrives this evening.


The heavy aerial bombardment of the fire areas in the 'Davenport Catchment' recommenced this morning and will continue all day, there are current two heavy lift bucket equipped helicopters and one Erickson Skycrane dropping water on the fire spots in the 'Dargo Catchment' area immediately to the south, and behind the village.   Despite the heavy water use from the Snow-making dam over the last three days , pumping from limited Swindlers Creek 'flows' has maintained the dam close to full capacity.


The CFA and DSE crew will continue to monitor for any residual burn/embers and extinguish any outbreaks from smoldering timbers within the Resort.  


Further examination this morning of the burn areas behind the 'Davenport Village' have shown that the areas burnt are highly variable and not as extenive as first reported - due to NNW winds which assisted in driving the fire fronts away from some gullies abutting the 'Davenport Village'.  The ski lodges ‘Peninsula, Valhalla, Kobla, IHP, Gravrot, Arrabri, Swindlers, Nindenthana, Eiger, Eumarellah, The Lodge, Vagabond and Bembooka plus the Sewerage Treatment Plant are currently considered secure.  There has been NO fire ingress into the gully between these Lodges.


The main fronts within the 'Davenport Catchment' are expected to continue their progress and spread deeper  into the 'Dargo National Park' and toward the 'Dinner Plain Resort'.  The fire has run approx. 10 km to the South and South-east over the past 24 hours, with several large spots ahead of the main fire, DSE have indicated the control activities are limited until the weather moderates as the fire moves through untracked terrain. 


The fire front in the 'Dargo Plains' closest to 'Dinner Plain' is approx. 6 km south of  the 'Village' and currently not progressing toward the village, rather running parallel to, but some 6 km to the S.W. of the Great Alpine Road in a south-easterly direction.  The anticipated S.E wind change this evening may drive the fire back toward the GAR and the 'Dinner Plain Village'.  Crews  have undertaken significant defensive preparations, including a bull-dozer control cut right around the SE perimeter to protect private assets. Ground and Air Observers are in area but smoke and fire conditions are making it difficult to get accurate information.  CRB units are being located around ‘Dinner Plain Village’, plant operations are continuing to prepare fall back lines in ‘Matheson Track’ area.


Two back burns are planned for today later, prior to  the forecast SE wind change.   The first from 'SlateyCutting' to 'Whisky Flat' and a second from 'Dinner Plain' to 'JB Plain' along the Dinner Plain Track…




Photo: Fires in 'Dargo Catchment' taken from Village to the South



Photo: Fire in the valley behind Davenport Village taken from alogside Leeton Lodge.





Village Access:


Both roads to the Hotham Village are closed for the foreseeable future under direction of the ICC.  The GAR to Harrietville Road is designated as ‘Class A’ closure – strictly no access.  The GAR from Dinner Plain – Hotham Heights has been downgraded and  is designated ‘Class B’ closure.  Both approaches are for Emergency Fire and Essential Services use only. 


The Great Alpine Road from Hotham to Harrietville is closed due to the high risk of burnt 2003-fire-killed Alpine Ash above the road falling down onto the road.  The road will be assessed by VicRoads tomorrow and plans for treatment of this risk will be determined.


Further information can be obtained by ringing the MHARMB Office on 03 57593550 or emailing




Andrew Lean

Media Liaison – MHARMB

10 February 2013