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Fed: All Vic bushfires now contained: emergency services

14 Mar 2009 12:17 PM

MELBOURNE, March 14 AAP - All of Victoria's bushfires have now been contained.

Emergency services said the Wilsons Promontory Cathedral fire was finally contained at 10am (AEDT) on Saturday, ending the last major bushfire that had been threatening Victoria since Black Saturday.

Australia's worst natural disaster has claimed the lives of 210 Victorians, more than 2,000 homes and burnt 421,670 hectares of public and private land since starting on February 7.

Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) state duty officer Dennis Ward acknowledged the combined firefighting effort of the DSE and Country Fire Authority (CFA) in containing the Wilsons Promontory bushfire.

A lightning strike sparked the fire on 8 February, and it has burnt over 25,200 hectares of the national park. "The recent rainfall and milder weather enabled firefighters to strengthen containment lines and bring the fire under control," Mr Ward said.

"Wilsons Promontory will remain closed until the end of March 2009.

"The focus is now on rehabilitation efforts to help the national park starts its recovery."

Residents within the Wilsons Promontory and other fire-affected regions are reminded that there may still be some intermittent fire activity and localised smoke behind control lines over coming days.

"Falling trees and tree limbs are also an ongoing hazard, and this danger could continue for several weeks to come."

CFA state duty officer Neil Bumpstead has also warned that the bushfire threat is not over.

"After 12 years of drought and below-average rainfall, the whole of Victoria remains tinder dry and the fire threat persists," he said.

"Until we receive widespread heavy rain, there is still the potential for severe fire days in March and April and more bushfires."