Steady rain over the next two days could help fire crews gain more control over massive blazes ravaging Victoria’s east and north east, although four emergency warnings remained in effect as of Sunday morning.
Light mist fell on Sunday at some centres including Bairnsdale, on the western edge of the East Gippsland fire ground.
- This story was published on Sunday. For Monday’s update see here
More widespread cooler conditions are expected to bring respite to the affected areas, Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Keris Arndt says.
“The conditions are much cooler, moisture’s a lot higher than we’ve seen over previous days and the winds are also easing off a fair bit, especially through Gippsland today,” Mr Arndt told AAP on Sunday.
“Hopefully that gives the fire agencies a bit of a chance to have a go at the fires and try to get a bit more control in there.”
— Hadi Khan (@hadikhan180) January 4, 2020
However while rain may help dampen the fireground, it could also prove a “double edged” sword for crews by making some areas more difficult to access, Mr Arndt said.
Four emergency warnings remain, with three in East Gippsland and one in northeast Victoria. Two evacuation orders are in force near Mt Buffalo and Mt Hotham in north east Victoria.
Rain is due to extend across the state, with light falls of up to 15mm forecast through Gippsland and the northeast ranges during the day.
The sprinkling will cover firegrounds up near Mt Hotham as well as fires burning through most of East Gippsland.
“It’s really through central Gippsland and the ranges, that’s most likely to see most of the rain today,” Mr Arndt says.
Meanwhile Cann River and Mallacoota in the far east, are only forecast to receive a few millimetres of rain. Only lighter falls are expected in the northeast, too.
“The fires up near Corryong in the far north east probably won’t see much rainfall today,” Mr Arndt said.
What you are seeing here is the burnt area of the Corryong fire overlaid onto a map of Melbourne and surrounds. One of the 39 fires still going across Victoria, this fire alone has burnt approximately 140,000 hectares. pic.twitter.com/XF0ygrS8hr
— VicEmergency (@vicemergency) January 4, 2020
Monday is likely to bring similar light steady rain in the same places, with forecasts of up to 15mm through Gippsland and the ranges before clearing up with some finer days ahead.
“There’s not a huge amount of wind and still pretty mild conditions continuing all the way through to mid week,” Mr Arndt said.
A state of emergency remains in place for Victoria throughout next week.
– with AAP