By Garry Howe
More property loss is inevitable as an “uncontrollable” fire rips through Bunyip State Park and threatens nearby communities.
CFA assistant chief officer Trevor Owen told a media conference in Pakenham on Sunday morning that the “very serious” situation would impact on communities through what would be a very difficult day.
“The fires are huge and will be with us for some time,” Mr Owen said. “This will require an almighty effort, as well as a change in the weather.”
“Communities will be impacted, there’s no doubt about that. We are doing our utmost to protect property the best we can, but the resources are under huge demand.
“We won’t be able to defend every property.”
Mr Owen said there had been some property loss – and there will be more.
“This is a hugely challenging fire,” he said. “The fire crews have done a great job and they are exhausted.”
“It is not a matter of if or may. We will see more property damage across the day.”
Crews have reported seeing property loss, but officials are not in a position to say exactly where at this stage. It has been reported that two homes have been lost in Garfield North and potentially another around Tonimbuk.
Mr Owen said there were areas firefighters could not access.
“We can’t be everywhere and we need to community to do its part.”
“If you choose to stay and defend you need to be well prepared. Don’t put your life and the lives of your family at risk.
“Please adhere to warnings, messages and advice.”
The fire – now greater than 6500 hectares – is still out of control and moving towards Princes Freeway. It is threatening properties in the Maryknoll, Cornucopia, Garfield, Tonimbuk and Labertouche North areas.
An emergency warning is still in place for the areas north of the railway line – Brandy Creek, Bravington, Buln Buln, Bunyip, Bunyip North, Catani, Cora Lynn, Cornucopia, Crossover, Garfield, Garfield North, Gentle Annie, Iona, Jindivick, Jindivick North, Jindivick West, Labertouche, Longwarry, Longwarry North, Maryknoll, Modella, Nar Nar Goon, Nar Nar Goon North, Neerim South, Ripplebrook, Robin Hood, Rokeby, Tarago, Tonimbuk, Tynong, Tynong North, Vervale.
It has not yet crossed the Princes Freeway and a Watch and Act Warning is in place for towns south of the freeway.
The Freeway will remain closed between Nar Nar Goon and Drouin indefinitely.