Our booking for staying in the isolated beach town of Mallacoota, East Gippsland, Victoria had been made in August 2019. We had booked A’Wangralea Caravan Park for 2 weeks ( 2nd – 16th January 2020) and looking forward to the trip. As Tuesday 31st December progressed we realised that due to massive fires and extreme weather conditions in the East Gippsland area it was not going to happen!
Tuesday 31st December 2019 – Mallacoota Burns
Keeping up with the Emergency Warnings in Mallacoota
We had signed up to the Mallacoota Community Facebook group months before to keep up with the local community activities and events. This provides a great way to get a real time check the situation at hand. This with the Vic Emergency app warnings was our focus leading up to this day. It is not a “real time” answer however is useful to see where fires are in a particular area.
We watched the Facebook video of the community meeting ( https://www.facebook.com//) on Monday 30 December and started to realise the seriousness of the situation.
There had been a warning on Sunday to leave the area due to the potential fire risk – and to leave the area while the Princess Hwy was still open. Luckily we were not due to go to Mallacoota until the 2nd January – which left a few days of working out whether it was safe or not to go.
Listening to ABC Gippsland and News reports around 10am on the 31st December we worked out it was not going to be possible to visit Mallacoota any time soon. Along with the dark and bright orange pictures and this video – https://www.facebook.com/ it was looking really scary and totally devastating.
Our hearts are with the whole community of Mallacoota and can’t imagine the horror they have experienced.
No way in. No way out. No Holiday!
We had been feeling a little lost and disappointment as to whether we were going to go or not. Realising we were lucky that we were not in Mallacoota and having to deal with the frightening situation of being stuck in an active massive out of control fire. Listening to news report it was also clear that there was going to be a delay in Residents wanting to get back to check their homes in Mallacoota and tourists wanting to get out of the area. All roads were closed in and out of the area and needed to be checked before anyone could come or leave the isolated area. There were also fires still burning in both Victoria and NSW. This made it easier to make the decision to start looking for another place to possibly go to and have a holiday. If we were unable to get to Mallacoota due to closed roads it was clear to us that it was not meant to be.
Our decision to not go to Mallacoota was made for us. There was also the uncertainty of what was going to happen over the next couple of days and weeks.
- Road Closures
- Lack of fuel for car
- Food supply shortages
- Air Quality
- More fires in the area in the coming week
Once it was apparent it was impossible to go to Mallacoota in the next few days or week… we started to look at the possibility of going back to work or an alternative holiday destination.
Friday 3rd January
With roads in and out of the town are expected to be blocked for weeks approx 1,000 people were ferried to the naval vessels HMAS Choules and MV Sycamore.
State of Disaster Declared for Victoria
A state of disaster declared for the first time in Victoria, as deadly bushfires continue to rage in East Gippsland and the northeast.
Saturday 4th January
“Bushfires are threatening dozens of communities in Victoria’s east and north-east, as a wind change sweeping the state intensifies the threat and firefighters pull back from fire fronts to focus on saving lives.”
For the latest information, visit the Vic Emergency website