Mount Hotham

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Mt Hotham Resort Fire Update - 12pm

Thursday 14thth February 2013


The MHARMB and the Hotham community were shocked and saddened at the news of the tragic loss of the two crew members in the 'West Ovens' sector on Wednesday - the crews from CFA/DSE, who selflessly battle these fires to protect the Hotham Community and its assets, are 'true Australians' - in the proudest sense of the word, so much is owed to so few. Our sincerest thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of these two 'lost' fire fighters at this time.




Harrietville  – Alpine Fire Statistics:


                                     North             South

Fire Area:                     18270ha         11987 ha 

Fire Perimeter:              95 km            150 km

Control Lines built:      210 km          385 km

Line to be built:            95 km            201 km

Potential Spread:          High              High




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


Conditions:       Currently;  Clear with no visible smoke,   Temperature: 16’c (expected max. of 17’c) 

                           Humidity:  72%, Wind:  NW at 12 km/h with gusts to 19 km/h.


Road Status:     Both Approaches Closed – Emergency & Essential Service Vehicle Access Only.




Current Status:




The ‘Harrietville – Alpine North Fires’ remains classified as ‘going’ and are continuing to spread despite the overnight rains.


Overnight 'Hotham Heights' received significant rain, measured at 38mm - this has gone a long way in subduing the fires closest the resort.  Unfortunately the rain was localised and whilst 'Hotham' got a decent quantity,  'Harrietville' and the 'Dargo' received none too little - so the major fronts continue to burn unabated.  Current conditions at 'Mt Hotham Village' are clear with no visible smoke, the wind has swung back to the NW at a light 12 kmh.  Although light rain is predicted daily for 'Hotham Heights' over the next 7 days in the form of small short lived southerly changes & thunderstorms - with the weather predominantly back in the north, temperatures are expected to remain high and with humidity falls during the days.  Humidity currently at 72%.  The potential for thunderstorm activity over the upcoming week is high- heightening the risk of new 'lighting ignited' outbreaks around 'Hotham and Dinner Plain'.



Fires continue to be active both south and north of the 'Mt Hotham Village' - as a result of overnights rain, all are subdued;  These active fires are located below 'Slatey Car park', to the South, near 'No Name River' in the 'Dargo Catchment', and the west in 'Baldy Hollow'.  A fire is located on the opposite spur to the southern end of 'Davenport Village', in an area known to locals as the 'Map of Tasmania' - continues to smoke.


Crews have extended the width of the 'burn' from the 'Sewerage Treatment Plant', to 'Slatey Cutting',  where it was deemed insufficient.  There has been further back-burning around 'Wire Plain'.


A further small 'tidy-up burn' is has been completed within the 'Davenport Village' in the area of 'Gravbrott, Nindenthana and Ettamogah Lodges' - this will assist in managing the fire should it move into the heavily wooded valley between 'Peninsula and Vagabond Lodges' at southern end of the 'Davenport Village'.


The main fronts within the 'Davenport Catchment' continue their progress and spread within the 'Dargo National Park'.  The fire has run to the South and South-east, with several large spots ahead of the main fire.   Crews have completed significant defensive preparations, including a bull-dozer ‘control-cut’ right around the SE perimeter to protect private assets - CFA are monitoring and maintaining crew and equipment in the 'Dinner Plain' area.




CFA/DSE Control Strategies;


Continue to monitor and protect 'Mt Hotham Resort', 'Dinner Plain Village' and other assets from fire.

The 'Dinner Plain Track' has been strengthened and 'back burnt' to 'Mayford Spur'.  The 'Blue Rag Range Track' strengthening has been completed to 'Wongungurra River'.


It is proposed to burn out 'Kings Spur Track at the earliest opportunity.


Maintain and extend fire Control Lines South and South-west of 'Harrietville' along the 'West Ovens Track' , 'New Link Track' and 'Albion Track' to link with the Western Division strategy.

Continue construction of fallback control lines to the west of the fire.




Village Access:


Both roads to the 'Hotham Village' are closed under direction of the 'Incident Control Coordinator' in 'Swifts Creek'.  The GAR to Harrietville Road is designated as ‘Class A’ closure – strictly no access (due to the high risk of burnt 2003-fire-killed Alpine Ash above the road falling down onto the road).    The GAR from Dinner Plain – Hotham Heights is designated ‘Class B’ closure - for Emergency Fire and Essential Services use only.  Both approaches are expected to remain close for several weeks.





Further information can be obtained by ringing the MHARMB Office on 03 5759 3550 or emailing



Andrew Lean

Media Liaison – MHARMB

14 February 2013