BACK-BURNING operations have helped strengthen control lines at the Kentbruck bushfire.
The fire, which started last Friday, has burnt more than 7800 hectares and is expected to grow in size as back-burning continues.
The timber Industry has been severely affected with the loss of 1200 hectares of pine plantations to the value of approximately $7.5 million.
Incident Management Team plantation technical advisor Andrew Moore said it was the largest single loss of plantation assets in the Green Triangle area since the 1983 Ash Wednesday Fires.
"Most of the plantations burnt were too young to salvage and this will reduce saw log supply in 20 years’ time,” he said.
Incident controller Peter Novotny said smoke would continue to hinder visibility and cause hazards tomorrow, which is a day of total fire ban throughout Victoria.
“We are increasing the size of the fire with back-burning of approximately 4500 hectares today,” Mr Novotny said.
“This will put up a vast amount of smoke and may hinder visibility and cause some people to experience health problems.”
The locations likely to be smoke affected are Drik Drik, Dartmoor, Heywood and surrounding areas.
The nearby community is urged to drive safely in smokey areas, with electronic warning signals in place this afternoon reinforcing smoke activity along the Princess Highway from Dartmoor to Heywood.
The strengthening of control lines is designed to bring the fire under control and protect people, property and other important assets.
A statement provided by the Department of Sustainability and Environment with the CFA said the Kentbruck fire had been particularly difficult to contain due to difficult access and terrain.
Crews involved in the fire are from CFA, Forestry Industry Brigades, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Country Fire Services (SA), the State Emergency Service, with support from several Victorian agencies and the Glenelg Shire Council.
The coordinated fire effort today includes 447 personnel, 52 tankers, 50 slip on units, 18 vehicles, one earth moving vehicle and nine aircraft. There are more than 240 personnel resting after night duty.
Current road closures in the area include Winnap-Nelson Road (between Portland-Nelson Road and the Princess Highway) and Old Caves Road between Bonds and Wanwin Roads. The Portland-Nelson Road has a speed restriction of 60km between Telegraph and Browns Roads.