News National Fires turn deadly, killing one person in Victoria’s Grampians

Fires turn deadly, killing one person in Victoria’s Grampians

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A person has been killed in Victoria’s Grampians bushfire.

Police say the body was found at Roses Gap, which is in the Grampians National Park, about 45km from Horsham.

“Victoria Police can confirm a person has been located deceased in Roses Gap,” a spokesman said.

“The death is being treated as occurring as a result of the fires.”

Arson and explosives squad investigators are heading to the scene.

Google Map
Map showing location of Roses Gap in the Grampians. Source: Google Map

The out of control fire in the Northern Grampians has reached 21,000 hectares with a dangerous wind change, possibly towards Dadswell Bridge, expected by 3 – 5pm.

The CFA told residents of the area to evacuate and seek shelter at the Stawell Leisure Centre, travelling via the Western Freeway.

People have been advised to turn on their headlights and drive slowly with the smoke likely to make it difficult to see.

After 3pm, when it is considered life threatening to leave, the CFA recommended taking shelter when the fire arrives and protecting yourself from the heat.

It warns not to return home with last resort options including a Neighbourhood Safer Place, a stationary car in a cleared area, a ploughed paddock or reserve or body of water like a swimming pool or dam.

Hours before the discovery people were evacuated from the area, including from nearby holiday town Halls Gap.

It is “strongly recommended” that people in Halls Gap, Pomonal, Bellfield, Lake Fyans, Lake Lonsdale, Roses Gap, Dadswells Bridge, Heatherlie and Ledcourt evacuate, authorities say.

An emergency message warns the out-of-control 21,000 hectare Grampians fire is expected to hit the towns on Friday afternoon and it could be life-threatening to evacuate after 3pm (AEDT).

Tourists began evacuating Halls Gap, which is on the edge of the Grampians National Park, on Thursday night.

Rohan McDonald, owner of the Halls Gap Lakeside Tourist Park, said a massive plume of smoke that looks liked an atomic bomb is visible in the town. He said his 100 campsites and 20 cabins have evacuated.

“They all started leaving last night when they saw the big red glow on top of the mountain,” he said.

Grampians bushfire
Residents in Grampians are being urged to evacuate as a deadly bushfire looms. Photo: AAP

Mr McDonald said he would stay and defend the park.

“She’s all nice and green and we’ve got about 30 or 40 sprinklers on the building,” he said.

“I think this wind change is going to be pretty bad. It is getting real smokey.”

Some tourists were still keen to go bushwalking, while a bus load of tourists asked if they could use the park’s swimming pool, Mr McDonald said.

“Just totally oblivious to the fact we are covered in smoke, there is a massive plume that looks like an atomic bomb has gone off over the top of the mountain,” he said.

People are urged to seek shelter at the relief centre at the Stawell Leisure Centre and travel there via the Grampians Road.

If people choose to stay emergency services may not be able to help them, the emergency message warns.

CFA chief officer Euan Ferguson said the evacuation was in preparation for a wind change which will hit later on Friday.

“Halls Gap is seriously under threat when the wind change occurs later today,” he said.

South Australian blazes

Lives and homes are under threat from a bushfire at Eden Valley in the Adelaide Hills.

The Country Fire Service says the blaze is burning in grass and is out of control travelling in a southerly direction.

People living in the area have been advised to activate their bushfire survival plans.

— with Melissa Mack