News State Victoria News Fire threatens small Vic community

Fire threatens small Vic community

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Homes in the Victorian hamlet of Goongerah are again under threat from a bushfire.

The fire is burning in bushland on private property about 500 metres from the Goongerah Primary School, threatening about six small farms.

The school was already closed because of fires in the area, with classes running at the Bendoc Community Hall until further notice.

Emergency warnings were issued on Thursday afternoon for Goongerah and Goongerah South.

Some of the firefighters working on bushfires in the area have been diverted to the blaze.

The 6.5ha spot fire started in steep bush outside the main fire control lines, Orbost incident controller Trevor Ebbels said.

Some homes are tucked away in the bush below the ridge where the fire is burning, he said.

“There’s probably around six buildings in there but some of those may be sheds,” Mr Ebbels told ABC radio.

“We’ve got a high level of confidence that we can hold this fire before it comes out into the open grassland.”

Goongerah, about 70km north from Orbost, is home to about 60 people.

Goongerah and other communities in far East Gippsland have been on high alert since bushfires began in mid-January.

The fires have burnt more than 130,000 hectares between the Snowy River and NSW border.

Another fire burning in the Hazelwood open-cut coal mine in the Latrobe Valley continues to spew smoke and ash over the town of Morwell.

Incident controller Barry Foss said smoke will continue to affect Morwell for weeks.

“This fire remains a complex one that will still take some weeks to bring under control,” Mr Foss said.

A company spokesman says it will take significant time and effort and large quantities of water to put the fire out.

The fire, which started on February 9, is burning on two worked-out faces of the mine, spread over 2.5km.

A number of firefighters have been treated for higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide and the EPA is doubling its air monitoring in response to community concerns.

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