Thursday, December 24
The latest view of the fires
An All Clear message being issued by Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning for Bucheen Creek, Bullioh, Cravensville, Henlow, Tallangatta Valley, The Cascade, Wyeebo.
Fire activity 25km South East of Tallangatta in the Tallangatta Valley has subsided.
The bushfire is now under control.
Smoke may still be visible from nearby communities and roads.
This will be the last advice issued for this fire.
Barnawartha-Indigo Valley fire update:
- Open grassed areas have not been extinguished.
- Planned burned out activities have not been completed.
- However, heavy material is still burning with a further update expected on the evening of December 24.
- Property and stock losses – four homes, one cabin, 26 sheds, 19 cars, five caravans, 12 motorbikes, four water tanks, 700 sheep, 50 cattle however those stock losses may increase.
- Firefighters have warned people to be wary of the potential for falling trees and branches as well as structural issues with buildings.
- A watch and act issue is still in affect for Barnawartha, Barnawartha South, Barnawartha North, Indigo Valley and Indigo Upper.
Wednesday, December 23
This is still a Watch and Act message issued by Country Fire Authority for Barnawartha, Barnawartha North, Indigo Valley, Barnawartha South, Indigo Upper.
Firefighters are making good progress to contain the fire in the Barnawartha and Indigo Valley area.
This fire remains not yet under control.
The next update is expected by 8pm or as the situation changes.
The Victorian Government has activated disaster assistance following the bushfires of 19 and 20 December 2015.
Assistance will be made available to Indigo Shire and the City of Wodonga to provide:
- Assistance with the demolition, rebuilding and removal of debris from damaged residential properties, and personal and financial counselling for affected individuals and families, and
- Assistance with the costs of clean-up operations and restoration of essential public assets for Councils.
- Residents Indigo and Wodonga can also apply for the following emergency grants to relieve personal hardship and distress:
- Emergency Relief Assistance, which provides payments of up to $520 per adult and $260 per child (up to a maximum of $1300 per household) available to help meet immediate needs, including emergency food, shelter, clothing, and personal items.
- Emergency Re-establishment Payments, which provide up to $32,500 per eligible household for clean-up, emergency accommodation, repairs, rebuilding (a principal place of residence), and replacing some damaged contents.
- To receive emergency relief assistance, you must discuss your circumstances with a Department of Health and Human Services officer as soon as possible — usually within seven days of the emergency. Phone 1300 650 172 for more information.
Anyone who has been affected by the bushfires and is suffering personal hardship and distress should call the Victorian Emergency Recovery Information Line on 1300 799 232 to find out what assistance is available.
Burning out activities are continuing in the Chiltern Mt Pilot National Park, five kilometres North East of Wooragee at the Southern end of the Indigo Valley.
Burning out activities completed overnight made excellent progress with approximately 60 per cent of the burning out completed.
There will be increased smoke in the area throughout the day into the evening.
As the fire is still not under control, CFA & DELWP are urging residents in the local area to be alert and stay informed of the fire.
Some scary vision from Chiltern Fire Brigade as they fought the flames during the height of the emergency.
The latest fire map from Victoria Emergency Services.
7am: CFA conducted burning out activities to secure the Southern edge of the fire in the Chiltern Mt Pilot National Park last night.
Burning out started at 6.30pm and continued until around 10pm approximately five kilometres North East of Wooragee at the Southern end of the Indigo Valley.
Smoke will be visible in the area last night and into Wednesday.
Residents are asked to avoid travelling in the area to allow ease of access of equipment and emergency services vehicles.
Indigo Valley back up and running
Blaze Aid will set up in the Indigo Valley over the next few months to repair thousands of kilometres of fencing destroyed by bushfires.
Indigo Shire contributed $5000 to the organisation to help with electricity and other costs, but work will be conducted by the organisation’s volunteers.Read more here
Tuesday, December 21
Relief in the heart of Indigo Valley
A SCHOOL which came toe-to-toe with a North East bushfire has opened its doors to the community.
Middle Indigo Primary became a hub on Monday when it offered showers, food, drinks, childcare or even just a bit of company. Read more here
NSW crews save Yackandandah and Baranduda
A NSW Rural Fire Service Superintendent says the Border has proven to be one big community after interstate crews worked together seamlessly to tackle the Barnawartha blaze. Read more here
Smoke sunset stuns residents
Monday night’s spectacular sunset was perhaps the only silver lining in the aftermath of the weekend’s fires. Read more here
- The fire started at 12.40pm on Sunday and grew to around 7000 hectares in size.
- That fire is still not control at this time and is now known as the Barnawartha-Indigo Creek fire.
- Open grassed areas are now extinguished.
- The fire area has not grown overnight (Monday-Tuesday) however heavy material in forest areas is still burning.
- Three homes have been lost in the Kopshoffe/Mason's Gap Road area.
- 1100 head of sheep and 50 cattle have been lost but the number is set to rise.
- A watch and act message is still currently in affect for Barnawartha, Barnawartha North, Barnawartha South, Indigo Valley and Indigo Upper.
- An advice message is currently in place for Huon Creek, West Wodonga, Leneva and Leneva West.
Farmers in North East Victoria are being asked for donations of fodder to assist those land-holders effected by the Barnawartha fire.
The North East Catchment Management Authority has established a drop-off in the Indigo Valley to accept hay donations immediately and through until the Autumn break.
The fire-stricken community is asking for weed free grass, lucerne, clover, rye and cereal hay. Round bales, big and small squares are all welcome.
Deliveries at any time welcome, but please call before dropping off to ensure help unloading.
Contact Shaun Jones, 0428 446607 "Breckenridge", 1076 Indigo Valley Rd, Indigo Valley.
An update as to the latest fire situation in the Indigo Valley and at Barnawartha is expected at midday.
Indigo Shire transfer stations free to fire victims. More details here
Here is a look at a live weather radar in Victoria for today.
7am: A Watch and Act is still in affect by the Country Fire Authority for Barnawartha, Barnawartha North, Indigo Valley, Barnawartha South, Indigo Upper.
Firefighters are making good progress to contain the fire in the Barnawartha and Indigo Valley area.
This fire remains not yet under control and fire fighting vehicles were operating in the area overnight.
Residents are asked to avoid travelling on the roads to allow ease of access of equipment and trucks, and need to be aware of hazardous fallen or falling trees. Fallen and falling trees pose a major risk.
Beechworth / Wodonga Road is now open to traffic and the Indigo Creek Road reopened at 6am this morning.
Current Road Closures include the Indigo Creek Road from Indigo Fire Station to Beechworth/Wodonga Road.
Monday, December 21
5.30pm: For more information stay in touch with The Border Mail’s website.
About 130 people at a community meeting in Indigo Valley on Monday afternoon were assured the fire had stopped spreading, but there was still work to be done by firefighters. Click here for full details
The likely cause of the fire was also touched on as the full extent of the damage started to become clearer. Click here for full details
Live weather radar
Remaining road closures in affected areas will remain until at least 6am, Tuesday, December 22 with only residents and emergency service workers allowed in or out.
As of 3.45pm Monday, December 21 only the Indigo Creek Road remains closed from Indigo Fire Station to Beechworth/Wodonga Road.
News from public meeting at Indigo Valley Public School
Barnawartha fire incident controller: Fire down from 10,000ha to 7000ha.
There are still 40-50 DELWP firefighters working in bushland.
Barnawartha fire I/C asked people not to be upset some homes got fire trucks and others didn't.
Road update: The Beechworth to Wodonga Road is now open to traffic.
However, the Indigo Creek Road remains closed from Indigo Fire Station to Beechworth to Wodonga Road.
Police have confirmed the cause of the fire was a limb of a gum tree that fell onto power lines at on a Riley's Road property.
Acting Inspector Kevin Coughlan said Wodonga detectives and CFA fire investigators were at the scene this morning.
"We believe a tree has come into contact with power lines and with that contact has caused the Barnawartha fire," he said.
Fire came within inches of this shed and 10 metres of a home on Chiltern-Barnawartha Road yesterday before it was saved by the CFA and owners.
It was the first house under threat when the fire started about 500 metres away at about 11am.
Four home have been destroyed by the fires with more expected. Full story and gallery click here
The CFA reports the next peak danger period for fires in the region is set to be on Christmas Day.
CFA’s Paul King said the size of the fires were of a concern.
“Even the big aircraft looked small in the smoke,” he said.
The Wodonga Carols by Candlelight have been cancelled until 2016. They were called off at around 4pm as conditions worsened. The carols will now be held on December 18, 2016.
Yesterday was a fire day, today is a people day, says the CFA. An education unit has been set up at Wodonga Plaza for anyone seeking help and information after the fires, which burnt about 8800 hectares.
A community meeting will also be held at Indigo Valley Primary School at 3pm for those impacted by the fire, which started near the Hume Highway at Barnawartha.
11.35am: An update on the roads closed in the area affected by the Indigo Valley fires. The Beechworth to Wodonga Road is closed to all but emergency vehicles.
The Indigo Creek Road is also closed to civilian vehicles and the Chiltern to Yackandadah Road is closed.
11.15am: An advice message has been issued by the CFA for West Wodonga, Huon Creek, Castle Creek, Wodonga, Leneva West, Leneva.
Firefighters continue to make good progress against the fire in the Barnawartha area, but at this time it is still not yet under control.
Fire fighters will be operated in the yellow area listed below to ensure there is no chance of it spreading there.
10.50am: The CFA has called a community meeting at 3pm today in the grounds of the Indigo Valley Primary School for those affected by the Barnawartha fire.
Firefighters are making good progress to contain the fire in the Barnawartha area. This fire remains not yet under control.
Fire fighting vehicles will be operating in the area today to ensure it stays within the current area.
Residents are asked to avoid travelling on the roads to allow ease of access of equipment and trucks, and need to be aware of hazardous fallen or falling trees.
As the fire is still not under control, CFA are urging residents in the local area to be alert and stay informed of the fire.
Further strong winds are still forecast for later today which may affect fire behavior. Fallen and falling trees pose a major risk.
While the immediate threat has passed residents in this area should continue to monitor conditions and stay informed.
The Community Relief Centre at The Cube, Hovell Street, Wodonga is closed.
Smoke will be visible from near by communities and roads.
Road Closures remain: on the Beechworth / Wodonga Road from Drapers Road to the Yackandandah Road.
The Indigo Creek Road closed from Indigo Fire Station to Beechworth / Wodonga Road.
The communities of Yackandandah, Wooragee, Back Creek & Beechworth are not currently under threat.
9.40am: A small fire at Baranduda, covering 0.10 hectares has been listed as contained.
9.30am: Wodonga, Huon Creek, West Wodonga, Leneva, Castle Creek, Leneva West, Barnawartha South, Indigo Valley, Barnawartha North, Indigo Upper and Barnawartha are still listed as watch and act by CFA.
8.30am: The cube evacuation centre has been closed this morning in the wake of the briefing from fire officials last night.
Sunday, December 20
10.20pm: Watch and act status remains.
Favorable weather conditions have slowed the spread of the bush fire in the Barnawartha and surrounding areas.
Emergency services crews will continue to work on the fire overnight.
Residents in this area should continue to monitor conditions and stay informed.
9.20pm: All traffic between Beechworth and Wodonga should detour via Yackandandah Road, except for emergency services.
9.16pm: The Wooragee to Yackandandah Road has now reopened, according to VicRoads.
9.07pm: The sound of a chopper boomed overhead as Alex Cheesley looked out over his livestock.
He was agitated with worry as the sirens wailed and the smoke clouded over his Indigo Valley farm.
9.05pm: Firefighters are grateful for late showers and attribute the wet weather to preventing the fire from travelling into Wodonga.
Incident controller Graham Healy said the full impact of the fire was yet to be assessed and one home may have been lost.
He said no-one had died, which was the best outcome.
9pm: Everyone in Yackandandah and Wodonga got the green light to head home while residents from Indigo Creek Road will spend the night in accommodation which was offered.
8.56pm: The tail end of heavy showers continue to move through the region while temperatures cool off to 21 degrees. More early showers may come on Monday morning.
8.43pm: No amount of planning could have stopped the Barnawartha blaze taking off.
That was the brutal assessment in the CFA’s Wodonga incident centre as the decision was made before 5pm to evacuate people in the Leneva area.
8.38pm: A number of roadworks have been disbanded in the Beechworth area.
8.35pm: Saving animals was as high on the priority list for many who did what they could to escape the path of the Barnawartha blaze.
Border Mail photographer Elenor Tedenborg came across Lory Blundell, Katrina Cook and Emma Campbell as they took their horses from Leneva to Castle Creek Road in West Wodonga.
Full story: http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/3591328/safe-sanctuary-for-animals-a-priority/?cs=11
8.30pm: Retirement home residents have bunkered down and hoped for the best as fires headed towards Yackandandah.
Staff decided not to evacuate the 67 residents, including one aged 106, from Yackandandah Health in Isaacs Avenue.
Full story: http://www.bordermail.com.au/story/3591330/residents-stay-in-hope/?cs=11
8.20pm: A watch and act message has been issued by Country Fire Authority for Wodonga, Leneva, Huon Creek, Castle Creek, Leneva West, West Wodonga, Barnawartha South, Indigo Upper, Indigo Valley, Barnawartha North, Yackandandah, Barnawartha, Wooragee, Back Creek, Beechworth.
The 4500 hectare bushfire, which is not under control, is travelling slowly in a northerly direction.
Due to rainfall in the area, fire crews are currently monitoring conditions
8.15pm: Residents, and fire trucks, are back in Yackandandah.
8.11pm: Wodonga and Yackandandah residents have been briefed at The Cube in Wodonga and were told they can return home but can expect a smell of smoke for many days.
7.45pm: Wodonga Council emergency management liaison officer Paul Leddy said The Cube has the capacity to house 400 people.
7.30pm: Earlier at The Cube, Michelle and Katie Lyon said they were at home in Barnawartha when the fire started.
Michelle said she heard one fire truck siren blare past, then one turned into eight and into ten.
A quick check of the online emergency updates and she learned 23 trucks were responding to a nearby fire.
"We've been through it before and got worried, so we left real quick," she said. "We just grabbed the dog, Katie was the only one (other, family member) home.
"Then we were driving and they said on the radio you can't go in or out (of Barnawartha).
"It was pretty frightening, the neighbours son said to evacuate and we were gone in two minutes."
7.20pm: Sergeant Mick Savage says 100 beds are on the way to The Cube in Wodonga and food and clothing supplies are in-hand.
7.16pm: Due to the emergency evacuation, Ibis Styles Albury Lake Hume Resort has offered its accommodation facility to any persons in need of accommodation due to the evacuation.
Under these circumstances, pets are allowed on the resort but conditions will apply.
Call: 02 6026 4444.
7.13pm: Castle Creek Road is still closed to traffic.
7.10pm: Indigo Shire mayor James Trenery said he wasn't prepared to protect his home like the last two instances of fires coming near his property near Yackandandah.
His family has taken shelter with his brother.
Mr Trenery said his thanks went to the Wodonga council for opening their arms to the people of Indigo.
"It's been really well run and organised," he said.
7.05pm: Fire-affected families who have holed up at The Cube are unlikely to get a briefing or direct information from the CFA about what fires are doing near their homes until after 8pm.
Police and City of Wodonga emergency management staff said they were not in the position to provide this type of information but would try and get someone who could.
Wodonga police Sergeant Mick Savage said if people were to leave the evacuation centre for another location they needed to tell them.
City of Wodonga municipal recovery manager Craig McClanahan said a community group was coming down to cook a barbeque for anyone who wanted dinner and there were plenty of sandwiches and water available.
For news from earlier on Sunday as the fire took hold: CLICK HERE