The south-west hit was hit with almost 20 fires in one day, mostly caused by lightning strikes | The Standard

Date: 2022-01-13 09:35:15

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UPDATE 8PM: CFA District 5 attended 19 fires today, predominantly caused by lightning strikes which struck the south-west. CFA District 5 Commander Craig Simpson told The Standard the CFA attended fires in Penshurst, Cavendish, Victoria Valley, Hexham, Mortlake, Dunkeld, Garvoc, Purnim and Minhamite. “The fires were mostly centred around the Penshurst area who copped the brunt of the lightning strikes,” Commander Simpson said. “All but two of those were extinguished with an hour. “Two of those fires were brought under control at 7.30pm.” Commander Simpson said the two fires were close to each – one around Waller Road, which caused damage to 120 hectares of land, and another near Stonefield lane which caused damage to 95 hectares. “It was difficult to gain access to the areas which were mainly on predominately private land,” he said. Commander Simpson said the fires were not suspicious. “All happened because of the weather event that came through,” he said. “We are monitoring the weather over the next 24 hours.” He said crews would continue monitoring the affected areas tonight with a changeover of crew members tomorrow. “People may still see some activity but there’s certainly no threat,” Commander Simpson said. EARLIER: WARRNAMBOOL Police told The Standard they were assisting with a fire in Penshurst. A spokesman from VICSES said there had been patchy storms but no calls had been made to the State Emergency Service for storm or flood related incidents in Warrnambool. “We only had eight calls for for help in the Barwon South West region, including four for trees down and a few other rescues more towards Bannockburn.,” the spokesman said. Flood watch warnings for the Portland Coast and Hopkins River were issued on the Vic Emergency app around 5pm. MORE than 100 lightning strikes have hit the south-west, causing at least 10 fires across the region. Hamilton-based CFA District 5 Assistant Chief Fire Officer Richard Bourke told The Standard the lightning strikes had hit from Warrnambool to Woorndoo. “There’s numerous small fires right across the district,” he said. IN OTHER NEWS: He said this included a fire on a private farm in the Dunkeld/Woodhouse area which took around 40 firefighters an-hour-and-a-half to contain from just after 1.30pm. “Crews have worked really well to stop the spread of that fire, but it’s not controlled yet,” Assistant Chief Fire Officer Bourke said. “They’re working to establish a containment line.” “Aerial bombers were used on that fire to assist the ground crews with stopping it spread.” He said no people were at risk. In nearby Victoria Valley lightning caused fire to a single tree. “Crews are there watching it and we’re getting an excavator in to manage (cut down) the tree,” Mr Bourke said. “It’s in a grassy paddock area so it has to be felled.” Lightning was the cause of a grassfire at Hexham with the CFA notified at 11.01am to reports of a grass fire at Hexham-Mortlake Road. “Crews found a grass and scrub fire that appears to have been started by lightning,” a Country Fire Authority spokesman said. “The scene was declared under control at 11.30am and crews contained it to three hectares.” Mr Bourke said the community needed to be prepared. “Make sure you have a fire plan and that you understand it,” he said. “There is a very high fire danger in the northern part of the district, from Hamilton and the north. “The risk is still high in the northern part, but has surpassed in the southern section.” Lightning also struck the ground at the Warrnambool campus of Deakin University which resulted in South West Healthcare temporarily closing its COVID-19 testing site until the storm passed. Vic Emergency also today released a strong wind warning. Now just one tap with our new app: Digital subscribers now have the convenience of faster news, right at your fingertips with The Standard: Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:

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