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Residents on alert over Grampians wind change

Wednesday February 20, 2013 - 12:46 EDT

Communities on the western edge of a large fire in western Victoria are being warned that south-easterly winds forecast for today could push the blaze in their direction.

The Grampians fire has burned through 14,000 hectares and is creating drifts of smoke in the area.

Overnight, the fire spotted into a pine plantation, three kilometres from the community of Glenisla.

Bulldozers and tankers are being used to build containment lines around the new fire.

Fire incident controller Paul Bates says crews are confident of containing the spot fire today.

A watch and act message remains in place for Glenisla and nearby communities of Woohlpooer and Mooralla.

Mr Bates says the fire is burning in steep and rocky country in the Victoria Range.

"The nature of the terrain it's in makes accessing the fire edge virtually impossible," he said.

"So we're relying on fall back lines just to undertake burning out operations as we can.

"But the issue being with the wind and spot fire development, it makes it difficult."

Mr Bates says more than 200 firefighters are already working to control the blaze and they will get some help from New South Wales and New Zealand firefighters in the next day or two.

Motorists are being warned to take care on the nearby Henty Highway because thick smoke has reduced visibility.

Smoke from the fires is evident across South Australia this morning and emergency authorities have been dealing with a high number of triple-0 calls from concerned people.


© ABC 2013

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