Firefighters are still working to control a major grassfire that broke out near Violet Town on Sunday.By Darren Linton
More than 200 firefighters were still battling to keep a massive fire near Violet Town within containment lines last night ahead of stronger winds after sunset.
Country Fire Authority crews were backed by seven water bombing aircraft including the sky crane, seven bulldozers and staff from Parks Victoria, the Department of Sustainability and Environment and a private fire fighting team from the nearby Hancock’s plantation.
The fire, which started at 12.45
Despite benign conditions for most of the day and strong containment lines around the main flanks of the fire, which were put in place overnight, there were ongoing trouble spots throughout the afternoon.
Fire crews hampered by the often inaccessible terrain were relying on helicopters to suppress hot spots or for dozers to carve a useable track.
Even though the fire was contained, it wasn’t yet deemed under control and by 4
CFA Deputy Incident Controller Paul Blythman told the community meeting the fire will be around for most of this week.
‘‘We envisage having it under control by Thursday,’’ he said, although he added it would be up to two weeks before the fire ground is completely blacked out.
‘‘It’s really up to the hard slog of dozers and excavators.’’
But in the rolling hills the weather can be fickle and late in the afternoon the wind swung to a northerly, creating a running flank of fire that was soon hit from the air.
Nightfall posed the biggest challenge because the aircraft don’t fly at night and it was deemed too dangerous for dozers to work the steep ridges after dark.
CFA crews hoped to keep winning the battle through the darkness until an expected easing of wind strengths around dawn.
Mr Blythman told residents the wind was the biggest issue.
‘‘The wind is the element that is going to knock us, while it stays under 35
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