Victorian fires cast pall over Bega Valley

AFTER a weekend of scorching temperatures across south-eastern Australia, severe bushfires in Victoria pushed thick clouds of smoke in to the Bega Valley. 

Although Valley residents woke up to cooler conditions on Monday morning, with the change came a thick haze from the south. 

“There certainly is a lot of smoke in the Bega Valley, however none of it is from New South Wales fires,” Rural Fire Service Far South Coast team manager Superintendent John Cullen said. 

He confirmed that two strike teams made up of crews and equipment from RFS brigades in the Eurobodalla were in operation over the weekend. 

“We sent a crew to Delegate and we also had a strike team on the NSW side near Cann River in case fire jumped over the border, but fortunately that did not eventuate.”

Continuing warm conditions and no immediate prospect of rain are making Victorian fires hard to bring under control and are keeping the RFS on alert.

Forestry Corporation of NSW has closed state forests near the NSW/Victorian border to all visitors until further notice, including those around Bombala and Eden. 

On Monday, the Country Fire Authority (CFA) in Victoria was still battling 28 out-of-control blazes and 20 homes had been destroyed by fire.

“We will be ready to send strike teams in to help the CFA if needed,” Superintendent Cullen said. 

“Unfortunately the hot weather is set to continue, we can only hope that some of the big lows sitting in the centre of Australia break up and send some rain this way,” he said. 

Superintendent Cullen reminded Bega Valley residents to remain aware of weather conditions and have a bush fire survival plan ready.

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