A State of Disaster has been declared for six Local Government Areas and the alpine resorts as Victoria and many other parts of the country brace for a weekend of extreme fire danger.
At this stage the Mornington Peninsula is not among the affected areas, but residents should remain vigilant and keep themselves informed as usual during the summer period.
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People in affected areas in the north and east of the state face a long and stressful few days as people have gathered in evacuation centres in Bairnsdale, Omeo, Orbost and Lakes Entrance, Corryong, Tallangatta, Wangaratta and Wodonga.
Meanwhile, the first evacuees from the Mallacoota fires have arrived in Hastings after a 17-hour journey on board the MV Sycamore.
Around 1,000 evacuees are expected to arrive by late Saturday afternoon and will be taken by bus to the Somerville Recreation Centre where a temporary relief centre has been set up and many will be reunited with their families.
Mayor of the Mornington Peninsula Shire, Sam Hearn has said that the Somerville Recreation Centre is being used as a base for the Mallacoota evacuees. Medical and chaplaincy services are being provided.
He said the evacuees will be treated “like family and cared for like our brothers and sisters” by the Mornington Peninsula community.
Meanwhile stories of bravery and leadership by the country’s fire authorities are emerging. Authorities are also praising communities for their resilience, cooperation and generosity.
Emergency Management Victoria recommends donating to not for profit registered charities who are helping bushfire victims, such as The Salvation Army. Donations can be made at any Bendigo Bank branch or via the bank’s website. The bank reports that the appeal has generated over $1 million in donations in its first 24 hours.
Residents on the Mornington Peninsula are reminded to exercise caution on the roads during periods of heavy smoke haze.
Extreme heat and infrastructure damage from the fires may place pressure on the electricity network, resulting in localised power outages. A power outage preparation kit should include:
- charged mobile phone
- battery-operated radio
- list of important contacts such as relatives and emergency services
- spare batteries.