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2006 Victoria Bushfires Update #5

Good news the people trapped by the bushfire on Mt. Buller are okay:

A DRAMATIC change of weather has stopped three bushfires in their tracks as they approached almost 100 people trapped on Victoria’s Mount Buller.

A wind shift, with gusts almost dying out, has stopped fire raging towards Mt Buller’s skifields this morning.

About 50 firefighters are backing up resort teams to help save valuable assets on the mountain top, which includes trendy ski resorts amid bare ski slopes hungry for a white Christmas.

A Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) spokeswoman said about 30 alpine resort staff had chosen to defend assets and were "stuck" on the mountain.

Yesterday, fire authorities closed Mount Buller Road to all traffic as several burnt-out trees fell across the roads, blocking access to the mountain top.

And winds up to 120km/h fanned three fires approaching Mt Buller’s summit before the weather changed.

It rained very heavily last night for the first time in months.  It rained so heavily that there was flash flooding in some areas.  There is more on the way an get this, the alpine communities may get a white Christmas:

FINALLY, it broke. The skies across Melbourne and Victoria opened last night – and the result was flash flooding in northern and eastern suburbs and relief for firefighters and towns threatened by fire.

State Emergency Service volunteers attended 200 calls in relation to flash floods. The worst affected areas were Doncaster, Northcote, Malvern and Nunawading. Trees were blown onto cars in several places. Some roofs were also lifted.

And just to spice things up a little, the people of the alpine communities have been told to expect snow on Christmas and Boxing days.

Something else that happened yesterday due to the weather was that the wife and I were driving North up the Hume Highway in Melbourne to go to the Epping Mall when we got stuck in a massive traffic jam.  What ended up happening that caused the accident was that a giant highway sign and the entire metal pole and framework that held the sign got blown over into the highway just before the Cooper Street exit and hit a car.  We were stuck in the traffic jam for about 45 minutes until the sign was pulled off the road by the rescue workers.  However, the negative aspects such as the flash flooding and high winds is of little consequences since we need the rain here so badly.