Mount Hotham

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Mt Hotham Resort - Fire Update 12noon

Mt Hotham Resort - Fire Update 12noon

Friday 8th February 2013 – 12 noon.


Harrietville – Alpine Fire Statistics:

                                   North          South

Fire Area:                  10210 ha   300 ha 

Fire Perimeter:         89 km        11 km

Control Lines built:  208 km      10 km

Line to be built:         10 km         50 km

Potential Spread:      High            High


Looking South-west from behind Chalet Hotham       .


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

Conditions:   Currently; Clear.  Temperature: 16’c (expected max. of 23’c)

Humidity: 38% Wind: Due NNW at 26 km/h with gusts to 40 km/h.

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


Current Status:

 The ‘Harrietville – Mt Feathertop Fire’ remains classified as ‘going’ and has continued to it’s spread in the ‘Dargo’ overnight.  No asset losses have been reported to date.

Note: From a control and planning perspective, due the fire breaching the ‘Great Alpine Road’ from ‘Mt St Bernard’ to ‘Mt Blowhard’, incident control for this section has transferred to the Gippsland IMT (Incident Management Team).  Consequently, the fire previously referred to as the ‘Harrietville – Feathertop Fire,’ has been split into two fire sectors – the ‘Harrietville – Alpine North Fire’ (the Alpine North ICC/IMT is located at Ovens) and ‘Harrietville – Alpine South Fire’ (the Alpine South ICC/IMT is located at Swifts Creek).

The wind direction has shifted ‘NNW’ over night and with a wind speed of 26 kmh with gusts up to 40 kmh.  Humidity is low at 38%. 

Fire has moved south of the Great Alpine Road (GAR) and is firmly established itself in the Dargo High Plains, and is visually prominent SW of the village, along ‘Morning Star Spur’ and below ‘St Bernard’.  CFA/DSE expect the ‘Alpine South Fire’ to make further SSE runs in the untracked forest of the ‘Dargo’ until at least late Sat/early Sunday given the predicted weather conditions.  The control strategies for this part of the fires are limited due the dense nature and ruggedness of the terrain, especially until the weather conditions moderate.  The ICC in ‘Swifts Creek’ has indicated an ‘indirect attack/asset protection’ strategy aimed at keeping the main fire east of the ‘Dargo High Plains’ Road.

The fire to North of the village continues to move through high elevation forest that was burnt in 2003 and 2006.  The fire has burnt down to the ‘Diamantina River’ along a 500m stretch - which proposes a potential threat to the Resort Water Catchment,  This area was aerially suppressed late yesterday afternoon and this morning plus DSE Rappel crews are improving the helipad near the ‘Diamantina River’ in preparation for ground crews to direct attack the hot spots.   Overnight, the ‘Machinery Spur’ observation point observed no fire activity; however DSE crews will continue to patrol the area and access options.

Currently ‘heavy lift helicopters’ are undertaking aerial bombing as required – and are being refilled from the Resort’s snow making dam.

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

Today, Saturday and Sunday are classified ‘high-risk’.





          270'Panoramic taken from the Summit looking South.


Defense Strategies:

MHARMB staff and contractors are currently re-establishing the fire break behind the buildings in the Davenport. 

‘Foschek’ fire retardant lines are being applied around vulnerable Resort infrastructure and assets - as a preventative measure.

The MHRMB staff continues to operate Resort patrols 24/7, monitoring 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 remain at 95% capacity and the Snowmaking Dam is currently around 97% capacity.  To bolster Mt Hotham water capacity, the CFA have located two large articulated water tankers which are transferring water from the Dinner Plain Aquifer Supply to the Hotham Snowmaking Dam to maintain full capacity.  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

08 February 2013