Mount Hotham

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Mt Hotham Resort - Fires Update 4pm

Mt Hotham Resort - Fires Update 4pm

Thursday 7th February 2013 – 4 pm


Harrietville – Feathertop Fire Statistics:

Fire Area:                     9211 ha

Fire Perimeter:              94 km

Control Lines built:        208 km

Line to be built:             10 km

Potential Spread:           High


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

Conditions:       Currently; Clear.  Temperature: 19’c (expected max. of 22’c)

  Humidity: 42% Wind: Due North at 40 km/h with gusts to 60 km/h.

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


Current Status:

The ‘Harrietville – Mt Feathertop Fire’ remains classified as ‘going’ and has moved into the ‘Dargo’ overnight.  No asset losses have been reported to date.

The wind direction has shifted ‘Due North’ this afternoon and increased to 40 kmh with gusts up to 60 kmh.  Humidity has fallen significantly and is currently 42%.

Fire has crossed the Great Alpine Rd (GAR) for most of its length between Old Coach Rd and the Dargo High Plains Rd. Several spot fires are located to the west of the control line on the ridge, and are backing down slope through high elevation Ash and mixed species forest that was burnt in 2003 and 2006.

The fire breached the Great Alpine Road from Mt St Bernard to Mt Blowhard, as a result incident control, for this section of the fire, has transferred to the Gippsland IMT (Incident Management Team).

Strategies are currently being finalized by CFA/DSE to commence back-burning operations along already brushed up western control lines, in conjunction with aerial attack operations. Retardant drops are occurring around hot-spots and fire edge west of the control line.

The Razorback and Bon Accord Spur fires, on the Resorts northern boundary, have now burnt down to the Diamantina River along a 500m stretch. Several hot spots were detected by the planned Aerial Infrared Imaging Scan (FLIR) this morning.   These hot spots along the river edge have potential to cross to the east side.  There is serious concern, that if not controlled, this may impact the Hotham Resort Water catchment.

The Erickson Skycrane plus other heavy lift helicopters’ are undertaking aerial bombing as required – and are being refilled from the Resort’s snow making dam. DSE Rappel crews are improving the helipad near the Diamantina River in preparation for ground crews to direct attack the hot spots.

Note:  A ‘Watch & Act’ message for Hotham and Dinner plain remains in place and ‘Advice messages’ were released around 0900 for Harrietville, Dargo, Cobungra, Omeo, Swifts Creek and Ensay.

Today, Friday and Saturday remain classified ‘high-risk’. 


Defense Strategies:

Some tracks to the west and south of the Great Alpine Road have been brushed / cleaned up for fire control lines.

 The MHRMB staff continues to patrol the Resort 24/7, monitoring the Resort environs for possible ember attacks and spot-overs. 

 CFA/DSE are on call as required for asset protection at Mt Hotham and the MHARMB’s fire fighting assets are now deployed as part of the overall CFA resource allocation strategy within the resort.

 The Hotham Village water Tanks at 95% capacity and the Snowmaking Dam is currently around 98% capacity which is currently being maintained by the limited Swindlers Creek flows.  To bolster Mt Hotham water capacity, the CFA have located two large articulated water tankers in the Village Car Park.  The CFA have installed three water refilling ‘pools’ for water bombing  - two in the Village Car-park and one in Davenport Subdivision to support the water bombing activities.

 The Board has completed all necessary defensive slashing and combustible rubbish removal around village buildings and assets.


 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 is designated ‘Class A’ closure.  Both approaches are for Emergency Fire Services use only. 


Further information can be obtained by emailing



Andrew Lean

Media Liaison – MHARMB

07 February 2013