Ballarat becomes bushfire base

March 1, 2024 BY

A large fire that started last Wednesday continues to burn in the Beaufort area. Photos: DAVID CROSLING/ NEWSWIRE


BALLARAT has played a central role in fighting the bushfire at Bayindeen, located northwest of Ballarat, which has burned more than twenty thousand hectares.

The fire started last week and is still burning with authorities saying it will take weeks for the blaze to be extinguished.

“Even without Wednesday’s weather, that fire will not be put out until about three weeks,” said Minister for emergency services, Jaclyn Symes.

“We know that our first responders are going to be out in the field for many days and we want to make sure that we’re looking after their health and wellbeing.”

Hundreds of people were evacuated to a relief centre on Dowling Street in Wendouree and Victoria Park is now a base camp for the Country Fire Authority.

The base can hold more than 300 firefighters and may be operational for as long as a month.

“The City of Ballarat is pleased to offer our support to the CFA who are doing an outstanding job battling the blazes that are yet to be brought under control,” said City of Ballarat mayor Cr Des Hudson.

“We ask people who live around and travel in the Victoria Park precinct to be mindful of the camp that’s quickly being established.”

Early Wednesday afternoon, authorities said that while the fire had been contained overnight, they were preparing for it to breach lines.

“Currently we’ve got the fire completely contained and there’s 155 kilometres of perimeter on this fire,” said incident controller Jarrod Hayse.

“We’ve got approximately 500 firefighters out on the ground and in the incident management team managing this fire.

“What we are preparing for is if there is any movement in the fire, if it breaches control lines, we will be actively communicating that to the community.”

Mr Hayse urged the community to stay unformed and thanked those who had followed advice.

“Two community meetings were held at Avoca and Beauford yesterday [Tuesday] and we had really positive feedback from the community,” he said.

“I was also hearing from the incident controllers on site that people were heading that warning, so I just wanted to reach out to the community and say thank you.”

A grant from the State Government has allowed a community hub to be set up in Pomonal where locals can access disaster relief assistance and Bendigo Bank have begun their 2024 bushfire appeal to support communities.

An appeal has also been set up for those effected by the fire and donations can be made via bit.ly/3OYUyg1.

Ongoing: A firefighter and resident watch on as a bushfire swept through the Raglan area last Friday. Photo: JAMES ROSS/ AAP IMAGE