Watch and act issued for grass and scrub fire near Hepburn

Emergency advice: Click here 

UPDATE:

Fire creeps toward the edge of the gorge at Elevated Plains, north of Hepburn, last night. Picture: Campbell's Creek Fire Brigade

Fire creeps toward the edge of the gorge at Elevated Plains, north of Hepburn, last night. Picture: Campbell's Creek Fire Brigade

A second emergency warning has been issued for Hepburn and Hepburn Springs, urging residents to leave now or emergency services may not be able to help if you decide to stay.

This Emergency Warning is being issued for Hepburn, Hepburn Springs.

There is a bushfire at Hepburn Springs that is not yet under control.

The bushfire is travelling in a southerly direction towards Hepburn and Hepburn Springs.

Hepburn and the northern section of Hepburn Springs could be impacted anytime within the next 2 hours. Leaving now is the safest option, before conditions become too dangerous. 

Emergency Services may not be able to help you if you decide to stay.

What you should do: 

Travel to: 

You should leave using Main Road and head towards Daylesford.

The home of family or friends that is away from the warning area.

When you leave remember to take your pets, mobile phone and medications.

A Relief Centre has been established and is open at Victoria Park, Burrall Street off the Ballan-Daylesford Road, Daylesford until further notice.

In the car: 

If you are travelling, do not enter the area. U-turn to safety.

Slow down and turn on your headlights. Smoke will make it difficult to see.

If you are unable to leave you should shelter indoors:

Close all exterior doors, windows and vents. Turn off cooling systems.

You must take shelter before the fire arrives. The extreme heat is likely to kill you well before the flames reach you.

Shelter in a room that has two exits including one directly to the outside. It is important to be able to see outside so you know what is happening with the fire.

If your home catches on fire and the conditions inside become unbearable, you need to get out and go to an area that has already been burnt. 

If you cannot get indoors, other last resort options include:

Shelter in the middle of a large open area like a ploughed paddock, football oval or sporting reserve.

Get into a large body of water like a dam, lake, river, the ocean or inground pool.

Try to protect yourself from the fire's heat.

If you are caught in fire in your car:

Park behind a solid structure to block the fire's heat or pull over to cleared area.

Try to position the car towards the approaching fire.

Turn on your hazard lights and headlights.

Close all windows.

Turn off the air-conditioning and shut all the air vents.

Turn your car engine off.

Get down as low as possible below window level and cover up with a woollen blanket.

Impacts in your area: 

The following roads are closed: 

Cnr Midland Highway and Back Hepburn Road

Cnr Forest Avenue and Back Hepburn Road.

Cnr Main Road and Ninth St.

Cnr Main Road and Twentieth St.

Emergency Services request that motorists obey all signage in place in the area.

UPDATE

The blaze threatening Hepburn and Hepburn Springs sets off an orange glow in the night sky

The blaze threatening Hepburn and Hepburn Springs sets off an orange glow in the night sky

Many residents of Hepburn and Hepburn Springs were woken soon after 5am with a knock on the door from firefighters asking them to leave their homes as a potentially dangerous fire burned nearby.

CFA incident controller Brett Boatman said it was the first time in his career that he could remember that occurring.

The scrub fire burning in a nearby gorge threatens to break out of difficult terrain as north westerly winds pick up during the day.

“The fire is burning in the gorge around Spring Creek, which is really difficult to access and egress,” Mr Boatman said.

“There’s heavy fuel in there but it’s impossible for us to get in there. Crews can fight the fire when it comes up and out of the gorge but we can’t get in to the gorge to make a break,” he said.

The fire was first reported about 5.30pm Saturday with a watch and act message for the local area issued a short time later.

At 8.30am Sunday, Emergency Management Victoria issued an emergency warning asking people from Hepburn and Hepburn Springs to leave, with fears the fire could impact the town within two hours.

Another emergency warning has just been issued at 9.50am stating: “Hepburn and the northern section of Hepburn Springs could be impacted anytime within the next 2 hours. Leaving now is the safest option, before conditions become too dangerous. 

“Emergency Services may not be able to help you if you decide to stay.”

A relief centre has been set up at Victoria Park, Burrall Street off the Ballan-Daylesford Road, Daylesford. 

About 200 CFA, DELWP and Forest Fire Management firefighters, 50 fire trucks, four bulldozers and at least five aircraft are currently tackling the blaze before the fiercest fire weather conditions align later in the day.

“In terms of the fire fight, I heard someone say that it’s hand to hand combat … up against this gorge is really difficult and somewhat dangerous,” Mr Boatman said.

Crews have been deployed around the area based on where fire ground controllers see the greatest risk of the fire emerging from the gorge.

Mr Boatman urged people to stay away from the area to allow clear access for fire crews.

“If you’ve driven through Daylesford on a Sunday you know how busy it gets. We wants the roads as clear as we can for resources and, with a lot of aircraft flying over the fire, we know people get very drawn in with tunnel vision.”

Daylesford Market and the Lake Daylesford Swim Classic have been cancelled.

Roads are closed at:

  • Cnr Midland Highway and Back Hepburn Road
  • Cnr Forest Avenue and Back Hepburn Road.
  • Cnr Main Road and Ninth St.
  • Cnr Main Road and Twentieth Sth

EARLIER

CFA have escalated the warning  for a scrub fire north of Hepburn that has been burning overnight.

The advice now recommends residents in Hepburn and the northern section of Hepburn Springs should leave now. 

The warning issues at 8.30am states that the townships could be impacted anytime within the next 2 hours and leaving now was recommended before conditions become too dangerous. 

Emergency Services may not be able to help you if you decide to stay, it notes.

The fire has currently burnt out an area north of the Spring Creek just hundreds of metres from the houses in Hepburn township.

Northerly winds fanned the fire late yesterday as it burnt across the Elevated Plains area after it was first reported at 5.30pm on Saturday

Hepburn Springs has a single main road connecting it to Newstead in the North and Daylesford in the south  and is otherwise surrounded by the Wombat Forest. 

EARLIER

Fire authorities also issued a watch and act for Elevated Plains, Hepburn, Hepburn Springs, Basalt, Dry Diggings, Mount Franklin, and Shepherds Flat after a grass and scrub fire broke out at Elevated Plains, north of Hepburn, soon after 6.30pm.

Within an hour the CFA, DELWP and Forest Fire Management had deployed at least 35 appliances to try to contain the blaze ahead of hazardous fire conditions on Sunday.

The fire, in the vicinity of Mannings Road, north of Dry Diggings Track, is travelling in a south easterly direction.

Sunday has been declared a day of total fire ban across the state with temperatures around Ballarat forecast to hit 37C, and elsewhere around the state as hot as 42C.

MORE TO COME

This story Low-level aircraft move in to control Hepburn fire first appeared on The Courier.