RELATED: Harcourt North blaze: PHOTOS
Council has closed its Emergency Relief Centre in Kyneton after fires impacting the north of Kyneton on the evening of Wednesday 7 January were downgraded by the CFA.
Approximately 250 hectares of land were burned in three separate fires in and around Black Hill Reserve.
The Relief Centre was opened at 7.30pm at the Kyneton Mechanics Institute to provide a place for people displaced by the fires. Emergency relief centres offer temporary shelter, food, clothing and first aid for people without a place to stay during an emergency.
Forty local residents attended the Relief centre between 7.30pm and 10.30pm, all of whom then found their own accommodation or returned home that evening.
Some residents also brought horses and other animals to a designated area at the Showgrounds, which was attended by Council Local Laws staff.
Council will provide support to fire-affected residents in the area, who may have experienced damage to infrastructure and livestock. The level of damage to houses and outbuildings is not yet known.
The popular and environmentally significant Black Hill Reserve was directly impacted by the fires, and will be now closed to the public until further notice.
Mayor, Cr Jennifer Anderson said that Council officers will investigate the damage to the reserve, including vegetation, pathways and signage.
“We know Black Hill is a favourite spot for many residents so it could be difficult coming to terms with the damage that has occurred.
“We don’t yet know how severely impacted the reserve is, it depends on the intensity of the fire and the extent of damage to the tree roots and tree trunks.
“However fire is a natural process and the reserve will naturally regenerate. It’s best to stay away as the area is quite sensitive now, and needs time to recover,” she said.
Council Rangers have contacted the Macedon Ranges Wildlife Network who will attend to injured animals in and around the area.
“Some animals may have survived, others may not, and there could be many injured wildlife who need some care. If you find injured wildlife in the area, contact the Wildlife Network on 1300 094 535,” said Cr Anderson.
Council is also conducting tree and road assessments on local roads. For the latest information on road closures in the area, visit the VicTraffic website at traffic.vicroads.vic.gov.au
The Kyneton fires which burnt through combined total of approximately 250 hectares yesterday have been contained thanks to quick work from CFA firefighters.
Incident Controller Steve Smith praised the efforts of the 350 firefighters who battled the fires yesterday afternoon and well into the night in difficult conditions.
“The fires broke out unexpectedly due to the lightening and created havoc for Kyneton and surrounding communities – the damage potentially could have been much worse if it wasn’t for the fantastic efforts of our crews.”
“Lightning strikes caused the fires to start in three separate areas in the Blackhill area North of Kyneton around 5:00pm yesterday,” Mr Smith said.
At the peak of the fires Emergency Warnings were issued for Kyneton, Bald Hill, Edgecombe, Langley and Greenhill areas.
These warnings were later downgraded to Watch and Act messages at 9:00pm and are currently sitting at an Advice level.
Aircraft including one Sky Crane and two large Air Tankers fought the fires in addition 70 CFA tankers.
“At the peak of the fires a relief centre was a relief centre was established at Kyneton Mechanics Hall - however this was closed by 10.30pm and most residents were able to return home or seek alternative accommodation.”
Although the immediate threat has passed Mr Smith warned there will still be fire activity and a significant amount of smoke in the area – potentially for days.
“Overnight fire activity has significantly decreased and we are expecting favourable weather conditions today which will help us strengthen containment lines – however residents need to remain vigilant monitor warnings and advice and have a practiced fire plan in place.”
At this stage one large hay shed has been confirmed as destroyed by the fires.
UPDATE 9.22am: A hay shed was destroyed in last night's fires in the Kyneton area.
Acting Sergeant Lucinda Marciniak of Kyneton police said, at this stage, it was the only structure to have been lost.
Acting Sergeant Marciniak also said road blocks were in place at:
- Blackhill Road and Foxs Lane, stopping traffic heading north;
- Blackhill School Road and Foxs Lane, stopping traffic heading north; and
- Kyneton-Heathcote Road and Ennis Road, stopping traffic heading east.
EARLIER: SEVERAL grass and scrub fires burned in central Victoria late Wednesday, keeping firefighters busy.
Fires broke out at Kyneton, Eddington, Baringhup and Harcourt North.
The CFA issued an emergency warning for residents in Kyneton and Bald Hill following a fire at the corner of Blackhill Road and Fords Lane, which broke out about 5.30pm.
The emergency warning was extended to Edgecombe, Langley, Greenhill and Woodleigh Heights at 6pm.
The Black Hill fire threatened properties and Kyneton Ridge Estate.
It was brought under control between 11pm and 12pm, a CFA spokesman says.
The Harcourt North fire, which is believed to have been caused by a lightning strike, was controlled just after 6pm on Wednesday.
More than 17 crews attended the blaze.
Firies are expected to remain on scene at Kyneton on Thursday to black out.
The public is warned smoke may be visible from nearby communities and roads.
More to come.
Review your bushfire survival plan.
If you do not have a plan, decide what you will do if the situation changes.
If you have time check your neighbours to see if they are monitoring conditions.
If you are experiencing smoke exposure, seek medical advice or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024.
Tune to ABC Local Radio, commercial and designated community radio stations, or Sky News TV.
Call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) on freecall 1800 240 667.
Deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech/communication impairment can contact VBIL via the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677.
For help with English, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 (freecall) and ask them to telephone VBIL. If you know someone who cannot speak English, provide them with this number.
Download the FireReady App or follow CFA_Updates on Twitter (#VicFires) or Facebook.
Road closures: check VicRoads website.