NORTH EAST FIRES | Rolling coverage

UPDATE: 3pm

A community meeting will be held in Benalla at 4pm for an update on fires in that region.

The meeting will be held at the Drill Hall, on the corner of Arundel and bridge streets, where a relief centre has been set up since last night.

The emergency warning for the Lake Rowan-Warby Ranges fire at Boweya and Boweya North has been downgraded to watch and act, but residents are still unable to return to their homes.

It is understood about 2000 livestock have perished in the 8500ha blaze, but no residential houses have been lost.

UPDATE: 1pm

A bushfire at Woomargama is under control but not yet contained.

The blaze will have burned through 1000ha with backburning ongoing today, and is believed to have started by another lightning strike that lay unnoticed until sparking yesterday morning.

It is being held south-west of Tunnel Road and north-east of River Road in largely grazing land and forest.

There is no threat to life or properties, and it is understood no livestock have been lost.

NSW Rural Fire Service inspector Marg Wehner said 13 tankers with 40 crew were on the scene with graders, a bulldozer and five aircraft.

It was yesterday feared embers from the fire could jump the border to Victoria, but that was no longer a concern.

“Today without the wind people will see a lot of smoke, a lot of flames, but there is no wind to carry embers across,” Ms Wehner said.

NSW RFS has also sent two strike teams to assist with the Lake Rowan-Warby Ranges fire in Victoria.

There were 20 fires burning across the southern Border region over the past three days, with lightning strikes on Monday sparking another 14 in Corowa and Berrigan shires.

UPDATE: LAKE ROWAN/WARBY RANGES - 10.30am

COMMUNITY meetings will be held in Wangaratta and Peechelba today for those affected by the Lake Rowan-Warby Ranges fire.

The Wangaratta meeting will be held at the HP Barr Reserve at 4pm; a time and place is still being confirmed for the Peechelba meeting.

At midday, the fire relief centre in HP Barr Reserve will provide an update on its operations.

More information regarding the fire, which has spread to more than 8000ha, will be available after 1.30pm.

CFA crews are hoping to today contain a 8500ha bushfire still burning near the Warby Ranges state park, near Wangaratta.

Residents of Boweya and Boweya North have been issued an emergency warning, meaning it is now too late to leave.

Watch and act warnings have been issued for Killawarra and South Wangaratta, however the spread of the fire has slowed significantly after spreading rapidly last night.

District 23 operations officer Stewart Kreltszheim said the fire behaviour had abated overnight and, though it was still going, crews were optimistic it would be contained today.

“It will be more driven by topography and fuel today, whereas last night it was the wind,” he said.

“A lot of people have enacted their fire plans which is good to see.”

It is understood livestock has been lost and possibly some farming infrastructure; but rapid impact assessment teams from Melbourne are in the area this morning to determine the extent of the damage.

Relief centres in Wangaratta and Benalla were busy overnight with up to 70 people attending, while about 20 people took livestock to the Wangaratta Showgrounds for safety.

A number of road closures are still in place, though Mr Kreltszheim said these would be assessed throughout the morning and possibly re-opened as appropriate.

- Devenish: Wangaratta Road/Glenrowan Boweya Road

- Boweya Road/Exchange Road

- Wangaratta/Wilby Road

- Boweya: St James Road/Sammon Road

- Tungamah-Peechelba Road and Boomanoomanah Road

WODONGA: 9.30am

ADVICE warnings for the west Wodonga fire that had burned out of control since Monday are due to be downgraded this morning.

Operations manager Paul King said crews had worked tirelessly through the night to bring the 123ha fire under control.

The fire, which had largely threatened properties along Plunketts, Coyles and Probyns roads, is now mostly out but crews will work throughout the day and likely tomorrow to clean up and ensure there are no flare ups.

Mr King said weather conditions stayed aggressive last night, but milder weather today was helping.

“It was quite cold but but the wind stayed up,” he said.

“It was dangerous, steep dark - it was a pretty horrible lot of work.

“But we held this fire against all odds yesterday.”

Aircraft will be in the region throughout the day while ground crews will work on blacking out the fire’s edge.

Though much of the threat had passed for west Wodonga residents - who were yesterday warned to have their fire plans ready - Mr King advised people to read the CFA’s warnings through thoroughly and to keep abreast of any updates.

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