Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Disused coal mine still burning after fifteen days

Australian Mining 20 February 2014:

Expert fire fighting crews have been brought in from interstate to help battle the blaze burning at Hazelwood open cut coal mine.
Sparked by fires which gripped Victoria on February 9, the coal mine blaze has caused issues for residents in the Morwell area with smoke and ash forcing some people to relocate temporarily.
Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said while fire suppression strategies had been successful, it was a complex environment for firefighters to contend with, ABC reported.
Firefighters from New South Wales have been brought in to help the 200 people already trying to put out the fire.....
Meanwhile thick smoke and ash has led to some local residents leave their homes with a respite centre open to take people in.
"I've quit cigarettes and I feel like I'm going through a pack a day,"  Anne-Marie Simpson said of the smoke.
A plan to evacuate to town of Morwell has been suspended, but children will be bussed to other schools from tomorrow.....

11 FEBRUARY 2014


TUESDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 2014 07:01

Latrobe Crime Investigation Unit and Arson and Explosive Squad detectives are seeking public assistance in relation to the Hazelwood open cut mine fire.
The fire, which has been burning for more than two weeks, is believed to have started at a site on the Strzelecki Highway between Morwell and Mirboo North on 9 February at around 1.30pm.
An arson chemist has attended and police are treating the fire as suspicious.
The fire progressed along the Strzelecki Highway through the HVP timber plantation, causing significant damage to plantations, fences and structures, before making its way into the Hazelwood open cut mine where it continues to burn.
There were also a number of smaller suspicious grass fires around the immediate area in Yinnar, Hazelwood and Boolarra on 28 January and again on the morning of 9 February.
Investigators believe an arsonist may be active in the area and could continue to light fires on high fire danger days.
Police wish to speak to anyone who witnessed any suspicious behaviour in these areas and urge anyone who believes they may know the person responsible to contact police.
Anyone with information about the fire is to asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit
Inspector Ian Geddes
Manager Media Unit
VP32189/2014 – 6892

The Australian 28 February 2014:

THE elderly, young children, pregnant women and people with lung problems are being advised to leave the worst-affected area near the Hazelwood coal mine fire, in a major escalation of the crisis in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.
The move comes amid growing alarm in Morwell over rising carbon monoxide levels, ash and smoke from a fire that’s been burning for almost three weeks.
Authorities are advising vulnerable residents in the southern part of Morwell to move temporarily, with the fire in the open-cut mine expected to continue to blanket Morwell in thick smoke and ash for at least another 10 days.
However angry locals heckled Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Rosemary Lester during her announcement, which she says follows consistently poor air quality in Morwell South.
Some residents demanded to know why the relocation advice was only being issued now and why it didn’t extend to the whole of Morwell.
“How about some truth instead of bullshit,’’ one man yelled at Dr Lester.
“We can’t sleep, we can’t go outside, we can’t breathe,’’ said one woman through tears.
“You can’t continue to allow this to happen.’’
Dr Lester admitted it was “unclear’’ what the medium effects of the smoke could be, but stressed it was only people over 65, children under five, pregnant women and people with pre-existing heart and lung conditions who should heed the advice to leave.
Fire authorities predict the blaze, which has been burning in an open-cut coal mine for almost three weeks, will continue to produce significant smoke and ash for at least another 10 days.....

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