Emergency fire warning issued in Victoria as dozens of out-of-control bushfires rage across southeast Australia: Gippsland residents told to ‘leave immediately’, fire ban banned in Sydney
An emergency bushfire warning is issued in Victoria’s Gippsland region, and residents in three areas have been told “leaving immediately is the safest option.”
The warning was issued for Stockdale, Iguana Creek and Glenaladale between Princes Highway and Beverleys Road by Victoria Emergency at 5.59am on Tuesday.
Three out-of-control fires are raging in the area, fueled by extreme weather conditions, and a house has been destroyed.
It comes as dozens of fires rage across Victoria and New South Wales – with hot and windy conditions forecast for much of southeast Australia.
Hot and windy conditions are forecast for Sydney with temperatures of 33 degrees and gusts of up to 40km/h in the morning.
Melbourne is expected to be hit by similar wind conditions, but is expected to be hit by up to 40mm of rain. It will be 22 degrees cooler.
High winds from a forecast cold front have made firefighting efforts difficult in Victoria.
The largest fire front spans 5,000 hectares of difficult terrain north of Maffra in the Briagolong, Culloden, Moornapa and Stockdale areas.
Country Fire Authority chief Jason Heffernan said the next 24 hours would be interesting with strong winds coupled with a cold front likely to make conditions more difficult.
Heavy rain forecast for later in the week is expected to provide much-needed relief, but would only ease the fire risk in the Gippsland region after a very hot and dry start to the season.
“Right now we are faced with a fire situation affecting families in East Gippsland, and no more than 24 hours later an emergency rain event affecting those same communities.”
Senior meteorologist Christine Johnson said a cold front would bring devastating wind gusts to fire-affected areas from 4 p.m. Monday through the early hours of Tuesday morning – most devastating before 6 a.m.
A different low pressure system would bring heavy rain and flash flooding starting Wednesday.
Tim Wiebusch, head of operations for the Victorian State Emergency Service, said Bairnsdale, up to the New South Wales border, would be the area hardest hit by the heavy rain, with flooding moderate expected for the Mitchell, Tambo, Snowy and Genoa rivers.