Mallee fires still burning

FIVE bushfires continue to burn in the Mallee.

A fire at Albacutya is still going, while fires at Danyo Reference Area, Rocket Lake, Red Bluff and Bronzewing Flora and Fauna Reserve have been contained but not controlled.

Mildura Incident Control Centre media officer John Painter said the Albacutya fire ran from the northern end of Wyperfeld National Park to the southern end of Lake Albacutya Park.

He said the five fires had burnt about 100,000 hectares.

He believed no homes had been lost.

Incident controller Bob Brinkman said fire-fighters were using infra-red cameras as they worked to secure the fires before hot and gusty weather early next week.

The cameras were being used on the ground and attached to aircraft to help identify hotspots.

"The forward-looking infra-red camera is attached to a light helicopter, which then flies over the fire ground and takes photos and the GPS co-ordinates of any hotspots such as smouldering logs,'' Mr Brinkman said.

"These photos and co-ordinates are transmitted to our ground crews, who then black out the hotspots.

"We're dealing with more than 100,000 hectares of fire ground in the Mallee, some of it in quite difficult terrain, so this technology is helping our fire-fighters immensely and assisting us to place our resources where they will be most effective.''

Mr Brinkman said crews were also using thermal imaging cameras on the ground to search for hotspots.

He said crews were monitoring and patrolling more than 450 kilometres of control lines.

"The last thing we want to see is fires flaring up again during next week's hot conditions and spreading outside control lines,'' he said.

"Fire-fighters will be working hard to construct and strengthen control lines, along with identifying and blacking out hotspots, in the next few days so we're in the best possible position when the hot weather hits us on Tuesday.''

Mr Brinkman urged people to make sure they had their bushfire survival plan ready to go as bad fire weather approached.

"We really need the community to be monitoring conditions and getting bushfire information from the many sources available because changing weather conditions next week do create the possibility that some of the Mallee fires might breach control lines despite fire-fighters' best efforts,'' he said.

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