Lightning sparks Grampians bushfires

FIREFIGHTERS are battling 12 fires in the Grampians National Park due to lightning strikes over the past 24 hours. 

Most of the fires are small and do not pose threats to communities, according to the Horsham CFA incident control.

Hamilton-based Country Fire Authority region five duty officer Bruce Farquharson said there had been a number of fires caused by lightning strikes in and around the Grampians, Edenhope, Harrow and Glenthompson.

He said fire calls started late yesterday afternoon with a fire at Glenthompson.

"That was one of the early ones. It was in open country and covered about 70 hectares near Glenthompson," he said.

"There are still a number of fires in the Grampians, some are on the edge of the Grampains covering both public and private land.

"We are putting quite a deal of resources into the fire at Clutterbucks Road, Mirranatwa. We have about a dozen tankers and ground crews working on that fire and there will be fire bombing aircraft, bulldozers and graders in action."

Mr Farquharson said at last count the Mirranatwa fire had burnt about 180 hectares and the CFA was working in conjunction with the Department of Sustainability and Environment officers to fight the blaze.

"There are numerous fire ongoing and we're co-ordinating our efforts with DSE. They have quite a few fires going on in the Little Desert area as well," he said.

"A fire at the Woolsthorpe-Hexham Road was sparked about 3.30am by a lightning strike. It was a fairly small grass fire. I'm not aware of any fire not started by lightning strikes. The fire at Clutterbucks Road is the one we are concerned about. It's not small, it needs plenty of attention and has the potential to spread."

Mr Farquharson said firefighters were facing favourable conditions to work this morning.

"One thing not in our favour is the terrain, some of it's very tough. We would also expect the wind to pick up this afternoon. Yesterday light local winds were effects by downdrafts from thunderstorms which caused the winds to radiate out," he said.

A log truck also caught fire about 4.30pm yesterday along the Beeac-Colac Road. CFA units attended, the road was block and it took about 90 minutes to bring the situation under control.

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