If you have been following me on Twitter you would have seen that my beloved Grampians is currently engulfed in flames.
— ABC News 24 (@ABCNews24) January 17, 2014
It’s heartbreaking to see that my beloved Grampians is engulfed in flames. I love the Grampians, and I love that I get to share my adventures in my extended backyard. The post that I had scheduled for today (a family bushwalk to the Pinnacle with the kids) will be postponed until further notice.
After a week of extreme weather in the ’40°c / 100°f, it was just a matter of time before a lighting strike would cause the start of a massive bushfire. Combined with extreme weather conditions, what started off as a fire at 11,000ha blew out to 51,000ha in a matter of 24 hours.
Weather conditions for Friday 17th Jan were just insane! With the 4th consecutive day in the 40’s/100’s (5th over 35c / 95f) and with an expected wind change (for the worst) to arrive, it was just a matter of waiting to see what the weather and the fire had in hold for the Grampians and the township of Halls Gap.
In case you didn’t know this would be the 4th major incident In the last 8 years that the Grampians National Park has been through. That’s 4 (including this one) brushfires & a flood (and they say climate change isn’t happening).
I was house-sitting in Halls Gap during the week. The fire was caused by a lightning strike occurring on Wednesday 15th January. I chose to leave on the Thursday (16th Jan), with the kids, once I had more information on what the fire was doing. My partner however decided to stay (he is also a volunteer firefighter, and had been through all the other incidents that the Grampians have been through).
Briggs Bluff which I walked a few weeks ago, (but posted about only recently) will have been affected but these fires, but at this stage, I can not tell you the extent of the damage in the area.
I took these photos from my house yesterday afternoon. They are direct out of the camera and have only been resized for the web. But it can give you an idea of how extreme the fire was/is.
If you would like to see more images you can do so here.
I can confirm that the park and the township of Halls Gap is closed until further notice. All residents have activated their fire plan.
The Western Hwy from Ballarat to Horsham is also closed. Detours are in place until further notice. Please go to the VicRoads Website for further updates.
The temperatures today are a lot cooler, but it is still a Total Fire Ban.
I will update my twitter feed with more updates once they come to hand. As of today, the township of Halls Gap is safe but still in threat.
The fire is west of Halls Gap in the Mount Difficult Range.There is still a threat to Halls Gap.
Spot fires and ember attack are possible into Halls Gap due to a spot fire burning in the Silverband Falls area.You are in danger, act now to protect yourself.Leaving now is the safest option before conditions become too dangerous.
A relief centre is operatin from the Stawell Leisure Centre, 49-51 Houston Street, Stawell.From – Emergency Vic
Tomorrow I will discuss Your Fire Plan.