Kentbruck bushfire to burn for months

A BUSHFIRE that has burnt through thousands of hectares of forest near Portland could smoulder for months emergency services have warned. 

Firefighters continue to keep a close watch on the blaze in the Kentbruck Heath near Portland, which had threatened the Drik Drik and Dartmoor communities two weeks ago. 

Department of Environment and Sustainability (DSE) district manager Mike Harper said hundreds of hectares of unburnt forest remained in the Lower Glenelg National Park behind containment lines. 

“It will continue to smoulder throughout summer,” Mr Harper said.  Country Fire Authority (CFA) and DSE crews were given the mammoth task this month of building a 50-kilometre containment wall around the fire, backburning and turning up the earth to stop embers from jumping into pine plantations and state forest. 

Mr Harper said the fire had remained behind the wall during days of extreme fire danger over the past week. 

“It didn’t get out then, so we’re fairly confident it will hold,” he said. 

Four crews from the DSE and forestry plantation companies watched the perimeter over the weekend for signs of trouble. 

Smoke is still billowing on to the Portland-Nelson Road and the Winnap-Nelson road. 

While, he cautioned motorists to drive to the conditions, Mr Harper said there was no need for alarm at the site of smoke in the area. 

“People should only call if they see flames in the area,” he said. 

Meanwhile, a car exhaust is thought to have sparked a small grass fire in Narrawong on Saturday afternoon. 

Fire crews from the DSE and CFA spent two hours getting the fire under control which jumped from private property into the Narrawong state park.

Portland police are investigating the fire, which is not believed to be suspicious. 

For information on fires in Victoria or general fire safety contact the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) on free call 1800 240 667.

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