THE Briagolong Fire Station was a hive of activity today as final preparations were done for expected fire in the next 24 hours.
The Aberfeldy-Donnellys bushfire was in remote country in Gippsland but expected to threaten several Gippsland communities with strong winds predicted for overnight.
Betty Richardson who lives about 8km from Briagolong stopped into the station to let the crew know she was leaving town for the safety of Sale.
“Tonight we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Mrs Richardson said.
She said her road was covered with long grass and trees and if the route caught on fire she would have no way out.
Grader driver Rodney O’Keefe of Stratford was on standby with his machine parked out front of the Briagolong station after another day building containment lines.
He started working on the fires at 3am on Friday morning near Heyfield where a number of homes were destroyed in the Seaton and Dawson area.
He said it was frightening working on containment lines when the wind change swept into the Heyfield area.
“I haven’t stopped (since Friday) and been on for at least 12 hours every day,” Mr O’Keefe said.
“We’ve just been getting Briagolong ready for when (the fire) comes.”
CFA catering coordinator Theresa Tate was in the kitchen preparing to feed volunteers and strike team members at a moment notice.
“We have to be prepared for anything, an extra nine Department of Primary Industries guys turned up for lunch today,” Ms Tate said.
A group of tourists from Lilydale who planned to spend their Australia Day weekend at Freestone Creek dropped into the station for an update on the fire.
“We do get that they come in and get advice…we usually go down there and check (the camping areas),” Briagolong CFA Captain John Hamment said.
Mr Hamment’s wife and Briagolong CFA second commander Heather said the region was prepared and they had spent the afternoon advising local residents and putting in grader lines to provide protection.
“A lot of people have slashed and cleared up,” Mrs Hamment said.
She said the teenagers of the brigade had proved their mettle in their recent fires helping elderly people clean up and prepare their property.
“They are a wonderful group of young people,” she said.