BUSHFIRES THREATEN MORE OZ SKI AREAS
9th January 2020 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Last modified on May 16th, 2021
An emergency evacuation order has been issued in Falls Creek while people in Mt Hotham have been told to ‘leave now’ as the threat from fires increases.
All of Australia’s main ski areas in Victoria and New South Wales have been closed by the bushfires.
One – Selwyn Snow Resort – has been seriously damaged by fire, as we reported in our earlier article.
Now, after a brief respite with lower temperatures and some rainfall, the high temperatures and winds have returned.
At 5pm local time on Thursday, a mandatory evacuation order, was put in place for Falls Creek in Victoria.
“A road block will be in place closing the Bogong High Plains Rd from Mount Beauty to Falls Creek from this time” the resort said.
“ Non essential personnel will not be permitted access to Falls Creek, this is effective immediately.
“All residents and stakeholders are strongly recommended to leave the resort by 5pm at the latest.
“If you choose not to evacuate, emergency services may not be able to ensure your safety and you may lose the ability to leave.”
Mount Hotham residents have also been told to ‘leave now’.
The instruction applies to everyone in the North East and East Gippsland areas, ahead of the worsening fire conditions on Friday.
“With 23 fires currently active across Victoria and approximately 1.2 million hectares burnt, tomorrow’s heat spike day brings an added elevated fire risk,” the local government’s website, Vic Emergency, said in a statement on Thursday.
“Those in at risk areas of the North East and East Gippsland should leave while it is still safe to do so. Emergency Services are encouraging communities to prepare and leave.”
Andrew Crisp, the Emergency Management Commissioner, said: “Our biggest role in this is helping the community, but we’re in for another tough time and although we’ve been through this before, it is very much a shared responsibility.
“We need your assistance with this, we don’t want anyone in those high risk areas and if you currently are, please leave.
“We’ve been really strong around the safety messaging and we will continue to push this.”
Victoria declared a state of disaster ahead of the worsening forecast.
The Premier Daniel Andrews said it would be in place for 48 hours.
The declaration is made when there is an emergency that constitutes, or is likely to constitute, a significant and widespread danger to life or property.
As well as Falls Creek and Mt Hotham, the disaster area includes the alpine resorts of Mt Buller and Mt Stirling.
Three people have died in Victoria.
Across Australia 27 people have lost their lives.
The snowsports community has offered its support and condolences.
The Ikon Pass, which includes the Australian resorts of Thredbo and Mt Buller on its global lift pass, published a statement.
“The Ikon Pass community is thinking of our friends in Australia as they face enormous challenges,” it said.
“Thredbo Resort in New South Wales and Mt Buller in Victoria have both been threatened by massive bushfires, and the danger continues.
“To help with firefighting and recovery efforts in their regions, Ikon Pass is supporting NSW Rural Fire Service and the Victoria Bushfire Appeal.
“Ikon Pass encourages our community to consider a donation to support and restore the mountains we all love.”
And the latest message comes from the head of the International Ski Federation.
“The bush fires in Australia are without doubt one of the worst disasters to hit the country,” said the President of the FIS, Gian Franco Kasper.
“My condolences to people, families and all who have lost property and loved ones in these tragic events,“
We’ll be monitoring the situation so do check back for our updates.