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Mt Hotham Resort Fires Update - 1pm

Mt Hotham Resort Fires Update - 1pm

Friday 22nd February 2013

Harrietville ¬†‚Äď Alpine Fire Statistics:
                                       North             South
Fire Area:                       16756ha         14866 ha  
Fire Perimeter:                120 km          270 km
Control Lines built:        210 km           420 km
Line to be built:              10 km             14 km
Potential Spread:            High               High



Resort Threat: ¬†Low-Moderate ‚Äď NO immediate fire threat to Mt Hotham Village. ¬†
Conditions:       Currently;  Mild.  Temperature: 13’c,   Humidity:  73%,
                           Wind: SE at 22 km/h with gusts to 32 km/h.
Road Status:     Omeo Approach - 'Open to 'Hotham Village'.

                           Harrietville Approach - 'Closed'  (Class A')
Current Status:
The ‚ÄėHarrietville ‚Äď Alpine South Fires‚Äô have been downgraded and are now classified as ‚ÄėCONTAINED‚Äô as of 11am today.

Wind is from the SE, gusting to 32 kph.  Lightning and storms are forecast for the next 3 days, however little 'fire extinguishing precipitation' is expected. 

Despite the forecast storms overnight, there was NO rain reported across the fire-ground area.

In total, the resources currently allocated to 'Alpine-South Fire' is; 7 x CFA tankers, 10 x CFA/DSE 'slip-on' equipped 4WDs supported by 100 CFA/DSE personnel.


The nearest hotspot to the "Hotham Village'  can be observed from behind  'Slatey’s Shed' down in the 'Dargo Valley'.


In the 'Blue Rag Range' Sector, the fire has backed down to river and continues to move south along the 'Blue Rag Range'.  DSE Crews will continue to patrol, blackout and monitor the fire.


Air observation is currently assessing any requirements for control across the fire area and monitoring the active fire-edge on 'Mt. Tabletop'


CFA/DSE Control Strategies;
Continue to monitor and protect 'Mt Hotham Resort', 'Dinner Plain Village' and other assets from fire.

Patrolling of 'Blue Rag Range' and 'Kings Spur'  to  'black-out'  hotspots.

Strengthening of containment lines in 'Tea Tree' and 'Blue Rag Range' sectors.

Construction of a control line around the fire south of the 'Blue Rag Range Track'.



Village Access: 

The Great Alpine Road from 'Omeo' to 'Hotham Village' is now OPEN, ¬†from 'Hotham Village' to 'Harrietville', the GAR remains designated a ‚ÄėClass A‚Äô closure ‚Äď strictly no access.

A road-block is located on the GAR , opposite 'Hotham Central' - no access beyond this point is permitted.

The Mt Hotham CEO, Jim Atteridge, has been working with Parks Victoria, DSE, VicRoads and the Minister over the last 3 weeks to have the Great Alpine Road opened as soon as possible.  After defence and asset protection, re-establishment of public access to the Mt Hotham Resort has been the Boards highest priority.  The MHARMB has been more than cognisant of the extreme financial hardship that these fires, and resultant road closures, have had and will continue to have on our commercial operators within the Resort and beyond.    The forced cancellation of two major summer tourism events scheduled next month being but a part of that hardship. 

The current status on the Harrietville-Hotham section of the GAR remains a major problem - for all stakeholders.   It is estimated that up to 10,000 dead trees (mostly dead from 2003 fires) will have to be felled along the fire impacted GAR before it is considered safe for unescorted traffic - whilst the lifting of the 'Class 'A' closure can only be effected by the 'Incident Control Centre', VicRoads must declare the road safe and navigable before it can be opened for general public use.  Early time estimates for the clearing of  the dead Mountain Ash is estimated to be at least 10-12 weeks …….. 

Clearly, this sort of time frame for renewed resort access from the Ovens side is unacceptable, it is hoped that arrangements can be put in place for daily fixed scheduled convoys (during daylight hours only) up and down from Harrietville much earlier.    Advice will be issued as soon as arrangements are determined by VicRoads and other relevant authorities.


Future Fire Update Publication:

As the 'Alpine South' fire has been classified as 'CONTAINED' and there is no immediate fire threat to 'Mt Hotham or Dinner Plain Villages' - this Update will be last daily Update issued.  Future 'MHARMB Fire Updates' will be distributed on an 'as circumstances dictate' or in the event the fire threat escalates.  


The MHARMB would like to express it's deepest gratitude for the untiring efforts over past weeks to all the dedicated staff and volunteers within the MHARMB, CFA, DSE and Emergency Services…… A very big thankyou to all!
Further information can be obtained by ringing the MHARMB Office on 03 57593550 or emailing;


Andrew Lean
Media Liaison ‚Äď MHARMB

22 February 2013