Lightning sparks new fires in Victoria

Trees are seen on fire as wildfires swept through the township of Seaton, Australia. Photo / AP
Trees are seen on fire as wildfires swept through the township of Seaton, Australia. Photo / AP

Lightning has sparked new forest fires in isolated locations near a blaze burning in Victoria's alpine region.

Storms dropped a bit of rain on the northern area of the Harrietville fire on Thursday but also sparked three small fires in the Ovens area, in the state's northeast, while mild weather is helping efforts around the huge Aberfeldy fire in Gippsland.

Ovens incident controller Tony Long said hundreds of firefighters were working to contain the new fires around Mount Buffalo, the Mount Cobbler area in the Alpine National Park east of Mansfield and Porepunkah. The latter has already been brought under control.

"The storms that came through the area yesterday were a bit of a mixed blessing," Mr Long said on Friday.

"While a bit of rain helped in the north area of the Harrietville-Alpine north fire, there were these other fires that started from the lightning."

Combined, the Harrietville-Alpine north and south fires have burned more than 30,000 hectares since they were sparked by lightning on January 21.

Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) firefighters Katie Peters, 19, and Steven Kadar, 34, died while fighting the north fire on Wednesday.

Mr Long said aircraft waterbombing on Thursday had helped to control some of the hot spots around the alpine north fire.

Crews are rappelling into the Mount Buffalo area on Friday to put a containment line around that blaze.

The CFA and DSE said the Harrietville-Alpine south fire had not spread much overnight.

About 50 NSW firefighters will join the 240 firefighting personnel already on the ground on Saturday.

Milder weather near the Aberfeldy fire has helped fire suppression activities, authorities say, with any more rain to ease conditions further.

The fire has burned through 84,100 hectares of mostly forest country since January 17.

Firefighters have constructed control lines on more than 300km of the 400km fire perimeter by hand, using machinery and from the air.


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