APPENDIX C – Fire in Victoria: a summary

 

This appendix summarises the major fire events in Victoria from February 1851 to February 2007.1

Date

Location

Impact Summary

6 February 1851
(Black Thursday)

Wimmera, Portland, Gippsland, Plenty Ranges, Westernport, Dandenong district, Heidelberg

Deaths: 152
People rendered homeless: 100
Buildings: 1,300
Livestock: 1 million sheep, thousands of cattle
Area burnt: 5 million hectares (approx. 25%) of Victoria3

4 and 5 January 1886

Otway and Heytesbury, incorporating Panmure, Colac, Camperdown

Deaths: nil
Estimated damage: £15,0004
Buildings: approx. 505
Fencing: thousands of miles (over 5,000 chains)6

1 February 1898
(Red Tuesday)

South Gippsland

Deaths: 12
People rendered homeless: 2,500
Buildings: over 2,000
Area burnt: 260,000 hectares

December 1899

Beechworth–Yackandandah, Broadford, Bairnsdale

Deaths: nil
Estimated damage: £50,000
Buildings: many homesteads
Livestock: extensive losses7

January 1900

Hamilton, Bealiba, Warrenbayne, Wangaratta, Euroa, Warrnambool

Deaths: nil
Estimated damage: £100,000–200,000
Buildings: 6 woolsheds and a number of homes
Fencing: extensive losses
Livestock: 20,000 sheep, 300 cattle and a number
of horses
Area burnt: more than 500,000 acres8

February 1900

Meredith, Warrnambool, Pyrenees Range, Gippsland

Deaths: 3
Estimated damage: £35,000
Buildings: homes, farmhouses and farm buildings
Fencing: hundreds of miles
Livestock: cattle and sheep
Area burnt: in excess of 60,000 acres9

December 1905 – January 1906

Dandenong Ranges

Deaths: 12

1 January 1912

Willaura

Deaths: nil
Buildings: 15
Area burnt: main street of the town

1 January 1913

Chelsea (Melbourne)

Deaths: nil
Buildings: 64 permanent residences and 100
holiday homes

1914

Gippsland, Grampians, Otway Range

Deaths: nil
Area burnt: varied—100,000 hectares10

1926

Noojee, Kinglake, Warburton, Erica, Dandenong Ranges

Deaths: 60
People rendered homeless: 700
Buildings: 1,000
Area burnt: 400,000 hectares

1932

Gippsland and other areas across Victoria

Deaths: 9
Area burnt: large areas of state forest

8 January 1939

Narbethong

Deaths: 2

13–20 January 1939 (incl. Black Friday)

Large areas of the north-east and Gippsland, the Otway and Grampian Ranges and the towns of Rubicon, Woods Point, Warrandyte, Noojee, Omeo, Mansfield, Dromana, Yarra Glen, Warburton, Erica

Deaths: 71
People rendered homeless: 3,000
Buildings: 1,300 (including 69 sawmills)
Livestock: 2,500
Area burnt: 1.5–2.0 million hectares

3–4 March 1942

Hamilton, South Gippsland

Deaths: 1
Livestock: 100 sheep11
Buildings: 30

22 December 1943 – 15 February 1944

Central and western districts, Morwell, Yallourn

Deaths: 51 (including 10 at Wangaratta on 22 December)
Livestock: 10,000
Buildings: more than 500 (as well as an open-cut mine)12
Area burnt: more than 1 million hectares of grassland and 160,000 hectares of forest
13

1 January 1952 –
1 March 1952

Central and southern districts, including Benalla area

Deaths: 10
Livestock: 7,500
Area burnt: 1.5 million acres

14–17 January 1962

The Basin, Christmas Hills, Kinglake, St Andrews, Hurstbridge, Warrandyte, Mitcham

Deaths: 32
Buildings: 454

January – February 1962

Southern district

Deaths: 1
People rendered homeless: 2,500
Buildings: 150

17 January 1965

Longwood

Deaths: 7 (all in one family)
Buildings: 6 houses

15 February –
13 March 1965

Gippsland

Deaths: 3
Buildings: more than 60 homes and shops
Livestock: more than 4,000
Area burnt: 750,000 acres of forest, 40,000 acres
of grassland
14

19 February 1968

Dandenong Ranges, The Basin, Upwey

Deaths: nil
People rendered homeless: 200
Buildings: 6415
Area burnt: 1,920 hectares

8–9 January 1969

Lara, Daylesford, Bulgana, Yea, Darraweit, Kangaroo Flat, Korongvale

Deaths: 23
People rendered homeless: 800
Buildings: 251
Livestock: more than 12,000
Area burnt: 250,000 hectares

December 1972

Mt Buffalo

Deaths: nil
Area burnt: 12,140 hectares
16

12 February 1977 (Black Saturday)

Penshurst, Tatyoon, Streatham, Creswick, Pura Pura, Werneth, Cressy, Rokewood, Beeac, Mingay, Lismore, Little River

Deaths: 8
People rendered homeless: 350
Buildings: 456
Fencing: 10,000 kilometres17
Livestock: 250,000 sheep; 4,500 cattle18
Area burnt: over 135,000 hectares
19

15 January 1978

Bairnsdale

Deaths: 2
People rendered homeless: 80
Buildings: 36
Livestock: 6,500
20

28 December 1980 –
6 January 1981

Sunset Country and Big Desert

Deaths: nil
Area burnt: 119,000 hectares
21

8–9 January 1983

Greendale

Deaths: 2 Forest Commission employees22

31 January –
12 February 1983

Cann River

Deaths: nil
Area burnt: 120,000 hectares

1 February 1983

Mt Macedon

Deaths: nil
Buildings: 50 houses
Area burnt: 6,100 hectares (including 1,864 hectares
of state forest)

16–18 February 1983 (Ash Wednesday)

Monivae, Branxholme, Cockatoo, East Trentham, Mt Macedon, Otway Range, Belgrave Heights, Warburton, Cudgee, Upper Beaconsfield, Framingham

Deaths: 47
People rendered homeless: 9,000
Buildings: 2,500
Livestock: 32,750 (including 18,000 sheep
and 7,000 cattle)
Fencing: 5,900 kilometres
Area burnt: 210,000 hectares
Estimated damage: $190 million23

4–12 March 1983

Cann River

Deaths: nil
Area burnt: 140,000 hectares

14 January –
15 February 1985

Including Maryborough, Avoca,
Little River, Wilsons Promontory

Deaths: 5
People rendered homeless: 600
Buildings: 680
Livestock: 46,000
Area burnt: 50,800 hectares

27 December 1990 – 10 January 1991

Strathbogie Ranges

Deaths: 1
People rendered homeless: 30
Buildings: 166
Livestock: 13,500

23 February 1995

Berringa

Deaths: nil
Area burnt: 10,000 hectares (mostly forest)
24

1 October 1995

South-western districts

Deaths: nil
Area burnt: bushland and a pine forest

19–21 January 1997

Dandenong Ranges, Creswick, Heathcote, Teddywaddy, Goughs Bay

Deaths: 3
People rendered homeless: 150
Buildings: 43 and 1 CFA fire truck
Area burnt: 4,150 hectares

16 February 1997

Winton, Romsey

Deaths: nil
Livestock: 200 sheep
Area burnt: 800 hectares

31 December 1997 – 12 January 1998

Caledonia River area of Alpine National Park, Carey River State Forest

Deaths: nil
Area burnt: 32,000 hectares

1 February 1998

Western District

Deaths: nil
Buildings: 60
Livestock: some losses
Area burnt: more than 1,600 hectares

22 March 1998

Trentham

Deaths: nil
Buildings: 60
Area burnt: 3,500 hectares

2 December 1998

Linton

Deaths: 5 (CFA firefighters)
Area burnt: 780 hectares
25

5–9 January 1999

Grampians

Deaths: nil
Area burnt: 7,000 hectares
26

18–21 January 2000

Portland region

Deaths: nil
Area burnt: 1,700 hectares

10 February 2000

North-western Victoria

Deaths: nil
Buildings: 5
Area burnt: 115 hectares

28 November –
20 December 2000

Dadswells Bridge and surrounds, Horsham, Stawell, Barratt region

Deaths: nil
Buildings: 6
Livestock: 8,000 (mainly sheep)27
Fencing: 500 kilometres28
Area burnt: 29,000 hectares
29

March 2002

Glenaroua

Deaths: nil
Buildings: 1 house
Area burnt: 6,100 hectares of grass and scrub
30

17–31 December 2002

Big Desert

Deaths: nil
Buildings: 1 abandoned house
Area burnt: 181,400 hectares
31

8 January – 7 March 2003

North-eastern Victoria, Gippsland

Deaths: 1
Buildings: 41 houses
Fencing: 3,000 kilometres
Livestock: 110,000
Area burnt: 1.3 million hectares

April 2005

Wilsons Promontory

Deaths: nil
Area burnt: more than 6,000 hectares
32

31 December 2005 – 31 January 2006

Ararat, Baw Baw Shire, Glenelg Shire, Golden Plains Shire, Greater Geelong, Horsham, Latrobe, Moorabool Shire, Moyne Shire, Murrindindi Shire, Northern Grampians Shire, South Gippsland Shire, Southern Grampians Shire

Deaths: 4
Buildings: 416
Fencing: 2,654 kilometres
Livestock: 64,265
Area burnt: 160,000 hectares

1 December 2006 –
7 February 2007

Alpine Shire, Benalla, Indigo Shire, Mansfield Shire, Corangamite Shire, Golden Plains Shire, Baw Baw Shire, East Gippsland, Latrobe, Wellington Shire, Moyne Shire, Wangaratta

Deaths: 1
Buildings: 51 houses
Livestock: 1,741
Area burnt: more than 1.2 million hectares

 

 

1       Unless otherwise indicated all statistics in this appendix are drawn from Exhibit 726 – Emergency Management Australia Disasters Database.
See all at RSCH.041.001.0002

2       All other sources refer to 12 deaths—Exhibit 720 – Report of the Inquiry Into The 2002-2003 Victorian Bushfires (INF.018.002.0001) at 0047; Exhibit 726 – Inquiry into the Impact of Public Land Management Practices on Bushfires in Victoria (RSCH.016.001.0204) at 0259; National Inquiry on Bushfire Mitigation and Management (RSCH.004.003.1961) at 2338

3       Exhibit 726 – Inquiry into the Impact of Public Land Management Practices on Bushfires in Victoria (RSCH.016.001.0204) at 0259

4       Exhibit 726 – The Argus 1 February 1886 (RSCH.016.001.0001)

5       Exhibit 726 – Report of Distribution of Forest Fires Relief Fund 1886 (RSCH.003.003.3143)

6       Exhibit 726 – Report of Distribution of Forest Fires Relief Fund 1886 (RSCH.003.003.3143)

7       All data for this fire comes from Exhibit 726 – Eleventh Progress Report of the Royal Commission on State Forests and Timber Reserves (RSCH.003.002.8789) at 8804

8       All data for this fire comes from Exhibit 726 – Eleventh Progress Report of the Royal Commission on State Forests and Timber Reserves (RSCH.003.002.8789) at 8804

9       All data for this fire comes from Exhibit 726 – Eleventh Progress Report of the Royal Commission on State Forests and Timber Reserves (RSCH.003.002.8789) at 8804

10     Exhibit 726 – Inquiry into the Impact of Public Land Management Practices on Bushfires in Victoria (RSCH.016.001.0204) at 0259

11     Exhibit 726 – Inquiry into the Impact of Public Land Management Practices on Bushfires in Victoria (RSCH.016.001.0204) at 0259

12     Exhibit 726 – National Inquiry on Bushfire Mitigation and Management (RSCH.004.003.1961) at 2338

13     Exhibit 726 – Inquiry into the Impact of Public Land Management Practices on Bushfires in Victoria (RSCH.016.001.0204) at 0259

14     Exhibit 726 – Inquiry into the Impact of Public Land Management Practices on Bushfires in Victoria (RSCH.016.001.0204) at 0259

15     Exhibit 726 – National Inquiry on Bushfire Mitigation and Management (RSCH.004.003.1961) at 2338

16     Exhibit 726 – National Inquiry on Bushfire Mitigation and Management (RSCH.004.003.1961) at 2339

17     Exhibit 726 – Report of the Board of Inquiry into the Occurrence of Bush and Grass Fires in Victoria (RSCH.003.002.8822) at 8841

18     Exhibit 726 – Report of the Board of Inquiry into the Occurrence of Bush and Grass Fires in Victoria (RSCH.003.002.8822) at 8841

19     Exhibit 726 – Report of the Board of Inquiry into the Occurrence of Bush and Grass Fires in Victoria (RSCH.003.002.8822) at 8841

20     Exhibit 726 – Inquiry into the Impact of Public Land Management Practices on Bushfires in Victoria (RSCH.016.001.0204) at 0260

21     Exhibit 726 – Inquiry into the Impact of Public Land Management Practices on Bushfires in Victoria (RSCH.016.001.0204) at 0260

22     Exhibit 726 – Legislative Assembly Ministerial Statement 16 March 1983 Pages 3072–3087 (RSCH.003.003.0364) at 0367

23     Exhibit 726 – Legislative Assembly Ministerial Statement 16 March 1983 Pages 3072–3087 (RSCH.003.003.0364) at 0368

24     Exhibit 726 – National Inquiry on Bushfire Mitigation and Management (RSCH.004.003.1961) at 2339

25     All data for this fire come from Exhibit 720 – Report of the Inquiry Into The 2002-2003 Victorian Bushfires (INF.018.002.0001) at 0048

26     Exhibit 726 – Mt. Difficult Fire – Grampians National Park 1989 (RSCH.030.001.0397) at 0399

27     Exhibit 726 – Inquiry into the Impact of Public Land Management Practices on Bushfires in Victoria (RSCH.016.001.0204) at 0260

28     Exhibit 726 – Inquiry into the Impact of Public Land Management Practices on Bushfires in Victoria (RSCH.016.001.0204) at 0260

29     Exhibit 726 – National Inquiry on Bushfire Mitigation and Management (RSCH.004.003.1961) at 2339

30     All data for this fire comes from Exhibit 726 – Inquiry into the Impact of Public Land Management Practices on Bushfires in Victoria (RSCH.016.001.0204) at 0260

31     All data for this fire comes from Exhibit 726 – National Inquiry on Bushfire Mitigation and Management (RSCH.004.003.1961) at 2339

32     Exhibit 11 – Statement of Esplin, Attachment 12 (WIT.005.001.1393) at 1418–1420


 

 

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