Loch Sport – 1983.

There was no respite…

Three weeks after Ash Wednesday, on Thursday 10 March 1983 at about 8.30 pm, a fire broke out in the National Park about 4 km west of Loch Sport near Beacon Swamp Track.

The fire began in thick coastal heathland on the southern shores of Lake Victoria and the cause was undetermined, although many suspected arson or careless campers.

The fire burnt fiercely under the influence of a north easterly breeze and there were initial fears for Seacombe and some settlements further away on the 90-Mile-Beach.

Bushfires in heathland with a mixture of t-tree, banksia and grass trees are notoriously very intense, and often short duration, being mostly driven by wind which can be unpredictable on the coast.

Four Forests Commission tankers and three National Parks Slip-On-Units were quickly at the blaze. Six bulldozers and five water tankers were also deployed.

There was a rapid escalation of CFA equipment with 32 tankers and 150 firefighters from Yarram, Stradbroke, Traralgon, Rosedale, Maffra, Glenmaggie, Morwell, and as far away as Warragul.

Police blocked the Loch Sport Road and the SES stepped in to feed firefighters. An ambulance was on standby.

A Bell 212 helicopter from the NSCA fitted with a 1700-litre water bucket, which was contracted to the FCV, once again proved very effective dousing hot spots, as it had also done earlier at Moonlight Head in February.

Later, a Forests Commission twin engine aircraft dropped aerial incendiaries to burnout fuel on the main Loch Sport Road.

The 1900 ha fire was controlled by late Friday morning and CFA crews withdrew by 9.00 pm in the evening, leaving FCV and NPS crews to patrol and blackout the edge for several more days.

DELWP records indicate this has been the largest fire on the Loch Sport Peninsula in the last 50 years.

Newspaper photos: Source: Gippsland Times, 15 March 1983

Map produced by Peter McHugh 2022. DEECA records indicate this has been the largest fire on the Loch Sport Peninsula in the last 50 years.

One thought on “Loch Sport – 1983.

  1. I highly commend you Peter
    All these “smaller”outbreaks around the horrible time of Ash Wednesday all need highlighting, it wasn’t just “the dandenongs”, country areas were just as vulnerable and needing just as much support and back up
    Subsequent generations need to be kept aware!
    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

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