Grampians fire continues to burn, residents told to remain vigilant

2.30PM UPDATE: The Grampians bushfire has grown to about 32,500 hectares in size.

The large, slow-moving fire is still out of control.

There is fire activity along the Glenelg River Road in the area of Woohlpooer and Mooralla.

People might see large amounts of smoke in the area.

The Victoria Valley, Victoria Range, Red Rock and Rocklands Reservoir areas are closed to visitors.

COMMUNITY MEETINGS

There will be meetings for communities affected by the fire. Representatives from Parks Victoria, DSE, CFA, Victoria Police and the Southern Grampians Shire Council will answer questions.

There have been community meetings at Cavendish and Balmoral.

5PM: Dunkeld Hall, Sterling Street, Dunkeld

TOMORROW 10AM: Brimapen Fire Station, Brimpaen Laharum Road

1.00PM UPDATE: Unstable weather conditions could cause the Grampians fire to behave erratically.

Winds of up to 35 kilometres an hour are pushing the fire in a south-westerly direction.

About 291 people are fighting the fire, with help from aircraft.

Relief centres at Balmoral Community College and Hamilton Senior Citizens Center are on standby and can be reactivated at any time.

10.00AM UPDATE: Fire authorities expect the Grampians bushfire to impact Cherrypool and Glenisla any time today.

The large, slow-moving bushfire is travelling in a north-westerly direction.

It could also impact Woohlpooer and Mooralla.

The fire is about 31,500 hectares in size and is out of control.

Significant smoke might be visible from nearby communities and roads.

There are relief centres open at Balmoral Community College and Hamilton Senior Citizen Centre.

The Victoria Valley, Victoria Range, Red Rock and Rocklands Reservoir areas are closed to visitors.

8.00AM UPDATE: Fire authorities have this morning issued a 'Watch and Act' status for the Grampians bushfire.

The large, slow moving bushfire is burning near the Victoria Range in the Grampians National Park.

The Country Fire Authority had issued an Emergency Warning for the fire earlier this morning but since downgraded it to the Watch and Act status.

The fire has grown overnight to about 31,500 hectares in size and is out of control.

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BURNING: Grampians fire in the Victoria Valley, near Glenisla. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

BURNING: Grampians fire in the Victoria Valley, near Glenisla. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

RED SKY: Smoke from the Grampians fire has given the sun a red tinge over the Wimmera this week. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

RED SKY: Smoke from the Grampians fire has given the sun a red tinge over the Wimmera this week. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

ON THE JOB: Crews at the Moralla Golf Club staging area today. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

ON THE JOB: Crews at the Moralla Golf Club staging area today. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

ON THE JOB: Crews at the Moralla Golf Club staging area today. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

ON THE JOB: Crews at the Moralla Golf Club staging area today. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

SMOKY HAZE: Horsham's Firebrace Street, engulfed in smoke this afternoon. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

SMOKY HAZE: Horsham's Firebrace Street, engulfed in smoke this afternoon. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

FROM THE SKY: The Grampians-Victoria Valley fire. PICTURE: WAYNE RIGG, CFA OPERATIONS OFFICER.

FROM THE SKY: The Grampians-Victoria Valley fire. PICTURE: WAYNE RIGG, CFA OPERATIONS OFFICER.

FROM THE SKY: The Grampians-Victoria Valley fire. PICTURE: WAYNE RIGG, CFA OPERATIONS OFFICER.

FROM THE SKY: The Grampians-Victoria Valley fire. PICTURE: WAYNE RIGG, CFA OPERATIONS OFFICER.

FROM THE SKY: The Grampians-Victoria Valley Complex. PICTURES: WAYNE RIGG, CFA OPERATIONS OFFICER.

FROM THE SKY: The Grampians-Victoria Valley Complex. PICTURES: WAYNE RIGG, CFA OPERATIONS OFFICER.

FROM THE SKY: The Grampians-Victoria Valley Complex. PICTURES: WAYNE RIGG, CFA OPERATIONS OFFICER.

FROM THE SKY: The Grampians-Victoria Valley Complex. PICTURES: WAYNE RIGG, CFA OPERATIONS OFFICER.

FROM THE SKY: The Grampians-Victoria Valley Complex. PICTURES: WAYNE RIGG, CFA OPERATIONS OFFICER.

FROM THE SKY: The Grampians-Victoria Valley Complex. PICTURES: WAYNE RIGG, CFA OPERATIONS OFFICER.

FROM THE SKY: The Grampians-Victoria Valley Complex. PICTURES: WAYNE RIGG, CFA OPERATIONS OFFICER.

FROM THE SKY: The Grampians-Victoria Valley Complex. PICTURES: WAYNE RIGG, CFA OPERATIONS OFFICER.

There may be significant smoke from backburning operations today. 

The Horsham Relief Center, which opened last night, is now closed.

Relief centres are open at Balmoral Community College in Harrow Road and at the Hamilton Senior Citizen Centre in Lonsdale Street.

Yesterday, Horsham's Redrock Books and Gallery owner Marian Anderson, who has a family farm near the fire at Glenisla, said her daughter Laura Anderson lived at the property but had stayed in Horsham for the past two days.

Ms Anderson said before noon that the fire was pretty close to her property.

She said she was unsure what was happening.

"It could be within five to six kilometres away," she said.

"Our neighbours reckon there is a lot of smoke.

"They and the CFA have been just fantastic and are doing everything they can.

"Most properties in the area would be under threat."

Yesterday's CFA warning applied to the western edge of the fire, active in the Victoria Range and Rocklands Reservoir.

GWMWater spokesman Andrew Rose said the fire had burnt into land surrounding Rocklands Reservoir but there had been no impact on GWMWater infrastructure by 2pm.

Rocklands Reservoir and Moora Moora Reservior are in the vicinity of the southern Grampians fire.

Mr Rose said there had been no issues with ash yet but GWMWater would monitor the situation.

"Rocklands' primary function from our perspective is, we do provide a wholesale water supply to Wannon Water, which looks after Balmoral,'' he said.

"Hamilton also has access to Rocklands water, but they are not using it at the moment.

"We are in talks with Wannon Water and Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority to see if there will be any impact on the water quality of Rocklands."

The Victoria Valley, Victoria Range and Red Rock areas are all closed to visitors.

Approximately two sheds have been destroyed, along with 15 kilometres of internal and external fencing.

About 60 sheep have been lost, with about 1700 hectares of grassland and pasture burnt.

ROAD CLOSURES:

 - There is a Traffic Management Point at the Victoria Valley and Bundool Roads intersection.

 - The Henty Highway is closed between Mooralla and Brimpaen-Laharum Road. Diversions are in place at Horsham and Cavendish.

 - Mt William Road, near Grampians Tourist Road, Pomonal

 - Serra Road, near Grampians Tourist Road, Mafeking

 - Glenelg River Road, from Lodge Road, Glenisla

 - Detours in place along the Henty Highway.

See the full list below for the most up-to-date road closures.

WHAT TO DO:

 - There is a risk to lives and homes, follow your bushfire survival plan.

 - If you plan to leave, or you are not prepared and there is a safer place near by, leave now if it is safe to do so.

 - Turn on your vehicle headlights and drive slowly; smoke will make it difficult to see.

 - Well prepared and actively defended homes can offer safety.

 - Take shelter when the fire arrives - protect yourself from the fire's heat.

 - Consider shelter options close by. These may include a private bunker (that meets current regulations) or a designated shelter or refuge. 

 - Last resort options include Neighbourhood Safer Place, a stationary car in a cleared area, or a ploughed paddock or reserve or body of water like a swimming pool or dam.

 - If time permits, check your neighbours to see if they are monitoring conditions.

 - If you are experiencing any symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure, the Department of Health advises people to seek medical advice or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024. 

Victorian Bushfire Information Line:1800 240 667 or www.cfa.vic.gov.au.

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