Timbarra blaze jumps containment lines

Timbarra blaze jumps containment lines

The bushfire north of Timbarra and Buchan, which continued to burn at more than 20,000 hectares yesterday, threatened W-Tree on Sunday, narrowly missing homes on Gelantipy Road.

The fire burning near Timbarra, west of the Gelantipy Road between Gelantipy and Murrindal, increased over the weekend and has already burnt out more than 20,000 hectares.

It is not yet under control and aircraft will continue to be used in containing fire breakaways. Yesterday, crews used water drops, hand raking, bulldozing earth breaks and blacking out hotspots as they continued to work to strengthen containment lines around the fire perimeter.

The fire crossed containment lines on Sunday at Mt Stewart between Mt Stewart Track and Buchan River, near Wagtail Ridge Track and Old Glenmore Track east towards Butchers Ridge, between Wattle Ridge Track and Wagtail Ridge north-west of W-Tree and near Hunter Lane south of Gillingal heading towards Murrindal River.

With the fire burning less than a kilometre away, Julia and Ian Delaney said they were prepared for the worst when the wind changed direction.

Mrs Delaney said it was around 4pm when a westerly wind change put the fire on a direct course toward W-Tree.

Together with six of their neighbors they huddled in the wool shed on their 15-acre property.

“Then just at the last minute as we thought it was coming, we got an easterly which blew the fire back on itself. The timing was unbelievable,” Mrs Delaney said. munity is truly thankful.”

Less than a week earlier W-Tree had been threatened after the wind changed direction and was bearing down on the SIBA Buddhist Retreat Centre.

“That wind change, followed by about eight millimetres of rain, was an absolute saviour.” Mrs Delaney said it was a frightening moment for all concerned and she has “absolute gratitude for the CFA and the men and women flying the water bombing aircraft”.

“Their bravery and coordination was just amazing, we are so grateful here at W-Tree, the whole community is truly thankful.”

Less than a week earlier W-Tree had been threatened after the wind changed direction and was bearing down on the SIBA Buddhist Retreat Centre.

Fifteen people were evacuated from the centre on the previous Friday, but began returning after the wind-changed direction once again.

Mrs Delaney said her husband reported seeing 100-foot trees exploding during that harrowing experience.

“We’ve been threatened twice and it’s not over yet, but we truly are in awe of the work the CFA, DEWLP and Fire Forest Management are doing,” she said.

Firefighters and incident management teams have regrouped and reassessed the bushfire situation in East Gippsland.

Gippsland Regional Controller, Ray Jasper, says easing weather conditions this week have allowed more detailed ground and air investigations to take place to provide a clearer picture of the current situation.

Residents in the affected areas are advised to stay informed about the weather and check what’s happening around them by visiting the VicEmergency website.

PICTURED: The fire threatens to engulf W-Tree on Sunday afternoon as pictured from the Delanyʼs property on Gelantipy Road. Fireman, Peter Schmetzer, from W-Tree was one of many firefighters prepared to defend the close-knit community.